When Jeremy Solly was reviewing his options for college, he considered Santa Clara’s ideal location, perfect weather, and small class sizes. When he arrived at SCU, the people turned out to be the big bonus he wasn’t expecting.
“It wasn’t really one quality I focused on going into the university,” says the psychology and Spanish studies double major. “However, community is probably one of SCU’s strongest traits and an aspect of my time there that I think about often.”
Solly would know. He held two jobs, volunteered for service projects, and pursued his interest in photography, all while completing his double major. One of those jobs, community facilitator, turned out to reward in more ways than just a paycheck.
As a community facilitator for the da Vinci Residential Learning Community, Solly organized friendly and competitive game nights, planned weekly group study sessions, and supported students confronted with personal issues. “Some of my best friends today are people I met in the dorms at SCU,” says Solly.
This strong sense of community was not exclusive to the dorms, he says, “There is this communal sense when you walk on campus, a feeling of ‘we are all in this together.’
“A community gives back to you as much as you put into it,” says Solly, who discovered that’s true anywhere, not just on the Mission campus.
When Solly left California to study abroad in Spain he took his philosophy of community engagement with him. “I joined a local gym, took some flamenco lessons, and really got to know Andalucia really well,” says Solly. “I made lots of Spanish friends who I still keep in touch with.”
Today, Solly still reflects this community outlook. As president of the Portland SCU Alumni chapter, Solly encourages SCU graduates to connect and reconnect every year. Also, as a retail director for his family’s garden company, Solly teaches gardening techniques and the benefits of gardening to schools, churches, and civic organizations. He keeps close contact with global suppliers on a day-to-day basis, working with customers everywhere, from California to China.
For this alumnus, the key for any student is to take initiative: saying “yes” is the most important step in networking, promoting inclusivity, and maintaining lifelong friendships.
“Make the most of your experiences,” says Solly. “You’ll never regret doing ‘too much’ while you’re at SCU,” he says. “Get involved!”
Click here for more information about Solly’s gardening company.
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