By, Ryan DeRosa

Class of 2023

Environmental Studies & Public Policy Double Major + Concentration in Planning & Design

My name is Ryan DeRosa and I am a rising second year student at the University of Delaware. This past summer I moved into UD 2 days early in order to participate in the Community Engagement Scholars pre-semester service trip. I was very nervous at first, as my first two days away from home would be spent off campus, building sheds, and working alongside almost 40 other people I did not know. My nerves were settled almost immediately as I realized that the Community Engagement Scholars is filled with caring advisors and fellow students who all applied to this program to make a difference in the community. 

On the first day of the trip we were split into two groups, in two different locations. My group was tasked with siding two new sheds for two houses through Habitat for Humanity. I handled a nail gun for the first time, cut siding for the first time, and did it alongside my new community of friends who were just as excited as I was to complete this project. That night we reconvened with the other group, played games, had a bonfire and got to know each other better. The next day we traveled to a community center for senior citizens and took on a number of different tasks including washing windows, cleaning different rooms of the building, weeding the garden and organizing supplies for a school drive. 

Upon returning to campus, I felt very grateful to have been able to immerse myself in an experience that I otherwise may not have. This service trip showed me the satisfaction of giving back to communities much different from my own. Habitat for Humanity is an organization that works to clean and build up neighborhoods for low income individuals, giving them nice places to live. It made me feel good to know that the work that we put in would make all the difference to whoever moves into those houses and to the senior citizens who utilize the community center for day to day activities. 

Community Engagement Scholars has taught me the value of teamwork, service, and compassion for all people. Traveling to smaller cities in Delaware showed me how different level income communities exist just miles from each other and how it is so important to provide service and care towards those less fortunate. The pre-semester service trip encouraged me to go on other Habitat for Humanity build this past November and I plan on doing many, many more. I hope I can see you all there with me!