Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Balin '07


When did you begin volunteering for Dickinson?

My volunteering for Dickinson actually began when I joined the Liberty Cap Society (Dickinson's tour guides) in my first year as a student (2003). I served as a tour guide for all four years, and had the honor of serving as a student interviewer in my senior year as well. I've always firmly believed in Dickinson's mission statement and its commitment to fostering learning and living environments that help to produce engaged citizens. I had such a great experience as a student volunteer that I didn't think twice about joining DAVS right after graduation in 2007. I was able to get really involved this past year after moving back to my hometown of New York City last August and hope to maintain this level of commitment. 

What prompted you to want to get more involved with Dickinson?

After graduating from Dickinson in 2007, I ended up working in the college's admissions office for a year as an admissions associate and coordinator of on-campus activities for prospective students. After having an incredible college career as a student, it was an amazing opportunity to see the school from the 'other' side; to live and breathe Dickinson every day, interviewing students, doing school visits in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and New York, and sharing my experiences and love for the school with others in order to help them to see Dickinson as a unique and special institution. In the years since, living in Philadelphia and now back in Manhattan, I feel just as connected to the school as I did when I was on campus and I greatly attribute this to the work of the Alumni Relations office and the Admissions office who have kept in contact and made me want to continue my involvement with the school in any way possible.

List the volunteer opportunities you participate in:

I serve as an off-campus alumna interviewer in New York City, I am part of the New York City Regional Club planning committee, and was a member of my class' Reunion Committee to help plan our 5 year reunion that just took place in June.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?

I think my favorite thing about volunteering is meeting prospective students and their families and having the opportunity to find out more about how and why they have decided to look at Dickinson, hear about their academic and extracurricular interests, and to share about my own experiences as a student and as an alumna. This is particularly important and exciting to me because when I was considering Dickinson ten years ago, it felt like almost no one in New York City knew of the school. Now, I meet families from neighborhoods and schools all over Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs who are seriously considering Dickinson and I am able to provide a unique perspective on what the transition from New York City to Carlisle was like, why the change in pace and scenery was so awesome, and how beneficial my time at Dickinson has turned out to be over the last 5 years since graduating. At events I now look forward to the puzzled looks and the classic question, "Wait, so you're from New York City, but chose to go to Dickinson in Carlisle, PA?? How did that happen?!" and I am filled with pride and happiness as I give my response and engage in conversation.

A fun Dickinson fact about yourself:

I had the honor of giving a private campus tour to Glenn Close, her daughter Annie (prospective student), and their dog, Charlie, when I was a senior.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about volunteering?

Try out a few different areas/options of volunteering to see which one you're most interested in being involved. It should be something that you want to continue being a part of, not something that feels like a chore. There are many options for volunteering for Dickinson, so try a few out and see what works for you!

What have you learned about yourself through volunteering?

I've learned how much I love being and feeling like I'm still a part of Dickinson, feeling like there is a mutual investment between myself and the school to continue bringing great students to campus and providing amazing opportunities once they get there.

Why do you choose to give to Dickinson (financially)?

While the academics at Dickinson greatly prepared me not only for graduate school but also for life after college, it was also my heavy involvement in extra-curricular activities that strengthened many skills that I will use for the rest of my life. I truly hope that every student at Dickinson has the access and opportunities to pursue their academic and extra-curricular activities over the course of their four years, and so I usually choose to allocate my financial contributions to the school to student activities to ensure that the amazing clubs and organizations continue to have budgets that allow them to maintain a lively, fun campus and an engaged and involved student body.

Published April 25, 2014