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Joe Spaulding

IUPUI Senior, Sam H. Jones Scholar

Joe Spaulding, an IUPUI senior studying engineering, questioned how his love for community service would be relevant to his major.

“In most work or corporate environments, they don’t care about being civically engaged,” Spaulding says. “I want to bring a civic mind to engineering and into the workplace.”

Spaulding knows the value of civic-mindedness having been a part of the Center for Service Learning since the beginning of his college career, first as a Freshman Service Scholar then a Community Service Scholar. He has helped organize and participated in various campus and community service events, including Global Youth Service Day, Cesar Chavez Day of Service, and MLK Day of Service.

He has been a Sam H. Jones Community Service Leader for the past two years. CSL developed the Sam H. Jones scholarship program to encourage and support students like Spaulding as they pursue their passions for community service.

“With the Sam H. Jones program, I have gained a lot of resources,” Spaulding says. “It showed me how to get involved on campus and gave me tools to inform my peers. I have been able to become an advocate for causes in the community that are close to my heart.”

Spaulding is most passionate about homeless outreach. With the help of CSL, he interned for a year with Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIPindy), working to expose and address homeless issues in Indianapolis communities.

Now, with the tools CHIPindy and CSL have given him to put his passion into action, he is spearheading Paw’s Pantry, a campus food pantry for students at IUPUI. The project has been in the works for the past two years in collaboration with the Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR). Spaulding is the first Community Service Leader to operate and represent Paw's Pantry. CSL, through the Sam H. Jones program, will fund Spaulding's work throughout his final year at IUPUI, and the position and funding will be offered to more Community Service Leaders in years to come.  

“Paw’s Pantry is students helping fellow students who are living on tight budgets and not eating properly,” Spaulding says. “We are working to defy this expectation that college students should live off of ramen noodles. Many students living in this urban environment struggle to make ends meet.”

Spaulding shows that students who explore their talents and are civically engaged build invaluable experience for a career regardless of major.

“CSL has given me tools and leadership skills to be able to bridge my career and my passions,” Spaulding says. “Advocating on behalf of the homeless has always been important to me, but CSL showed me what I could really do with that passion.”