Aurelia Henderson wears many different hats. Whether she’s doing school work for her double major in Creative Writing and Psychology, serving as a Community Advisor for Boss-McGill, or supporting her sorority sisters, Aurelia works hard and is passionate about everything she does. On top of these activities, Aurelia serves on the Executive Board for the 1000plus Service Event at Carnegie Mellon. I was lucky enough to catch her in between class and meetings to sit down with Aurelia and discuss her role on the board and the event 1000plus.
For those who do not know, 1000plus is Carnegie Mellon’s day of service. Its mission is to get 1000 or more members of the CMU community to participate in service hours. According to Aurelia, there’s also a second mission: “1000plus is also about raising awareness for issues facing the community and issues facing Pittsburgh.” Sign ups range from a single student to a whole sorority or fraternity. Students and organizations either stay on campus or go to service sights where they help the community.
As Project-Planning co-chair (along with her fellow co-chair Maricel Paz) it is Aurelia’s job to reach out to the Pittsburgh community and organizations to plan the different service sites people will be going to for 1000plus. “Being Project-Planning co-chair has been a great opportunity for me,” she explains. “I’ve gotten to learn so much about all the different services, organizations, and communities outside of Carnegie Mellon.”
One may wonder why she decided to add yet another leadership position on her already packed schedule. However she doesn’t see (and never has seen) this as a burden at all. Her passion for 1000plus began after she attended the Emerging Leaders retreat when she was a freshman. She became interested in helping more with the needs of the Pittsburgh community. “It was hard to ignore the needs of those around us,” she says. “I wanted to give back to the CMU and greater Pittsburgh community.” After serving as the large group liaison last year, Aurelia took the next step by officially becoming part of the executive board. “I joined exec because I knew we shared a similar passion and would therefore support each other,” she explains. “Its a very positive experience when you support other people who care as much as you do.”
However, Aurelia did have some advice for future applicants for this position. “Be very conscious of the amount of energy and time this position takes.” “This was not a task I was fully prepared for when I first started,” says Aurelia. Although she may not have expected the time commitment, Aurelia used her passion and determination to get through it. “You have to be passionate and excited about what you are doing. You’ll be miserable working really hard and then not even enjoying what you did.”
But what makes 1000plus so unique and why is it so special to Aurelia? “Its such an interesting campaign,” she explains. “Living in the Carnegie Mellon bubble, its easy to forget about the outside world. Its eye opening to see the bigger picture and what you can do to help out.” 1000plus engages so many aspects of the Carnegie Mellon community that wouldn’t normally come together. Aurelia explains how 1000plus unites undergraduates, graduates, people from different departments and schools, and different organizations: “All these different groups can work towards a common issue or service.”
As the interview comes to an end I ask Aurelia what she hopes participants take from 1000plus. She hopes that people leave the service day a little more informed. “I hope for them to be a little more thoughtful of what’s going on around them, and for them to continue to stay involved,” she says. “That way we can say we’re apart of the Pittsburgh Community in a way that’s meaningful.”
1000plus 2012 is March 31st. Sign up and find out more information at http://willyoubecounted.com/