Stead Leadership Seminar, East: Service Profile
To fully understand Virginia Commonwealth University sophomore Zachary Green’s love of volunteering and service, a trip back to his high school days is needed.
Green joined a service organization when he entered high school, an organization which required all participants to accumulate 120 hours by the end of four years. But for the bright-eyed young man, adamant about making a difference, this seemed too easy.
By the end of his high school career, Green had clocked over 600 hours of community service. He was hooked.
But when Green made the transition from high school to college, the need to serve his community tapered off as he found himself lost in trying to navigate his new home.
“It was weird because I came into my first semester of college and it [volunteering] just stopped,” recalled Green. “I went from cleaning beaches on Saturday mornings, something that no one would ever do, to sleeping in on Saturday mornings. I needed to change it up, and I didn’t like what I was doing and needed to be involved in my new home of Richmond.”
Enter Lambda Chi Alpha.
From the moment Green was introduced to the men of Lambda Chi, he knew he had found a new home, not only to find brothers, but to rekindle his love of service.
Now, fast forward to Stead Leadership Seminar, East.
Green and his team of other Lambda Chi members from across the country were introduced to the city of Baltimore and all of its intricacies as they traveled to their worksite. The group would be joining the Community Lot team of Baltimore, a team of people dedicated to “transforming vacant and abandoned lots in Baltimore City into community gardens and green spaces”.
As the Lambda Chi members traveled down the hill to the site, the change in scenery was drastic. One minute the area boasted lavish town homes and villas, and the next, the group passed condemned buildings and cracked windows.
But then Green noticed a bed of sunflowers as they pulled into the lot, a small sign of hope and rebirth.
“We came upon a site that was just an empty lot, and then it was crazy because there was just a bed of sunflowers among piles of ruble, piles of dirt, gravel,” said Green. “You could tell they were previously working on this site, and there was just a beautiful sunflower; what an odd thing to see in a place like this, but there are small amounts of beauty in such a rundown location.”
With a fresh perspective on his work and surroundings, Green was ready to become a part of this new community. The group spent three hours moving dirt and soil to help transform the lot into something of peace and beauty.
“A woman [who worked there] came up to us and said how grateful they were that we came out today, and this is the first project they have seen in a long time where someone is really taking time to come out here in this area,” stated Green. “She told us this put a spark in many people in the neighborhood to get involved and really change what this area looks like, and that’s why we are here.”
Though it was just a few hours out of his day, Green likes to think that he was able to make an impact in some small way and start a chain reaction of goodness, one of the reasons he believes in the value of service.
Green has come a long way in his life, but will always remain the same person who brought a meal every day for a less fortunate peer in high school because he knew it to be the right thing to do.
“We as individuals who have this opportunity to be in college and to be a part of a fraternity shows privilege, and the first step with any type of privilege is recognizing that you have it,” said Green. “I think the way to really…share that privilege with individuals is to give back, and I think that’s why philanthropy means so much to me…”
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