“Find who you are, find your passions, make connections, get involved.”
Being a member of, and contributing to a community of learners, givers and doers is a theme for Emily Dickman’s life. Emily lived in a community on a working Kibbutz in Israel for a semester during her junior year of high school and loved the experience. While there she met an American hiker who told her about a great gap year program in Israel. Emily wrote it down which is something she is quick to do when someone shares a good resource with her. During her senior year of high school she followed up on his suggestion and applied to the gap year program. She returned to Israel for a full year, and was once again part of an active and engaged community of learners. Emily applied to UNH from Israel, returning home just one day before attending orientation for first year students.
The UNH Pre-Orientation Volunteer Experience in Service program (PrOVES) was an obvious start at UNH for Emily. It gave her the opportunity to get connected with community service at the very beginning of her UNH journey. Community service runs deep in Emily’s heart and mind. No project or idea seems too big or challenging to tackle. She knows how to work hard, and how to coalesce the help of others. Early on other experienced student leaders noticed Emily’s desire to make a difference and to serve others. They quickly took Emily under their wing helping her to dive in and get involved at UNH.
One of the PrOVES student leaders brought Emily to The Waysmeet Center her first day of school. Emily has been in love with this community ever since. For Emily, Waysmeet is about caring, inclusion, activism, and dialogue. Emily explains that at Waysmeet students are talking passionately about their beliefs and ideas. Waysmeet literally means a place where “all ways meet,” and Emily lights up when she talks about this concept and this place.
Early in her first semester Emily met Rabbi Sam at the Waysmeet Center, and a week later they were meeting to talk about how to revive Hillel on campus. The following year Emily became the president of an active Hillel student organization. Emily lived at Waysmeet her sophomore year, and even though she no longer lives at Waysmeet she considers it “home.” As the volunteer coordinator at Waysmeet she recognizes how much effort is needed to effectively work with volunteers so that they want to return. Emily has thought deeply about creating volunteer systems that make volunteers feel valued and integrated into the community.
Emily became heavily involved in the Cornucopia food pantry at Waysmeet and is the coordinator. Running the food pantry is no small feat as it serves hundreds of people. Emily is a model volunteer herself having stayed at Waysmeet the past two winters to insure the holiday food baskets were robust and delivered to meet the needs of over 1,000 people. Emily knows the people who frequent the food pantry by name and really enjoys the connection she has with its users. Through this experience she has been driven to understand the issues of food justice, food rescue programs and food insecurity. Emily is a certified shopper at the NH Food Bank enabling her to order food for Cornucopia. Speaking out about food justice on various panels including the MLK Activism Roundtable Discussion is another thing Emily takes on.
As a dual major in social work and women’s studies, and a student in the Community Leadership program, she is interested in studying these topics from a policy perspective. She is an activist, and has lobbied on Capital Hill about the importance of Planned Parenthood in NH. She is one of the founding members of Vox (Voices for Planned Parenthood) dedicated to women’s rights and advocacy. Since Vox started, they have worked closely with Women’s studies, SHARPP and Health Services to sponsor awareness raising events on campus. Vox took Emily to DC for a policy conference where she learned about being a part of the policy making process. As a member of the UNH Women’s Commission Emily continues to explore social policy at UNH.
Emily believes her time at UNH has helped her to be a more reflective and thoughtful person. She has been challenged to sort out what is important to her and what she needs to do to be effective while at UNH. She is keenly aware of the fact that college only comes once in a lifetime, and wants to make the most of her time at UNH. She is doing what she does so well, because she loves what she is doing. Emily over and over expresses her gratitude to the many faculty, staff and students who have supported her in her UNH journey. One of Emily’s nominators Larry Brickner-Wood writes about Emily, “…best of all, she is a delightful human being with a wonderful heart and a soulful spirit. She is carving out a wonderful legacy here at UNH.” No doubt Emily is inspiring other students in the same way she was inspired by the women she met her first weeks at UNH who steered her in the direction of Waysmeet.
2013 - 2014 CYOS Honorees: seated Zak Ahmad-Kahloon, Emily Dickman, Nyomi Guzman, Annie Crossman, standing Lauren McCandless, Kathryn Sattora, Timothy Marquis, Sid Nigam, Evan Beals, Peter Wilkinson