Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Leadership lived: Student gives back through volunteer work

When Marissa Farris was a junior in high school an admissions counselor from the University of Illinois Springfield paid her a visit. She loved what she heard and soon planned a trip to campus. Before long she was in love.

“From the start and I knew UIS was going to be the place for me for the next four years and that’s exactly what’s happening,” she said.

Three years later, Farris is now a business administration major at UIS. She’s president of the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity, vice chair for finance and co-sponsorship for the Student Activities Committee, co-president of the Young Professional Marketers Association and mentors students in the Capital Scholars Honors Program.

On campus, she regularly volunteers with Alpha Phi Omega to clean up trash along 11th Street. She also gives back with the Leadership for Life Service Organization, helping to create fire prevention kits for the Red Cross and building a Habitat for Humanity home.

“It just makes me feel good,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m making a difference, being a better person because I’m fortunate enough to never really have to worry about a lot of stuff in my life.”

Farris credits UIS for helping her prepare for her future.

“UIS has just given me the opportunity to get involved with a lot of student organizations,” she said. “I’ve been able to take on leadership roles and executive board roles at an early time in my college career, even as a sophomore.”

Following graduation, she plans move back to her hometown of Roxana, Illinois and open her own small retail business.