CSS scholars share their wisdom about the program

In The Spotlight: Highlighting The Work Of DePaul’s Community Service Scholars

Students commit to community service and learn about social justice for their education.


The Irwin W. Steans Center at DePaul University is currently looking for current freshmen to be part of the Community Service Scholarship (CSS). This program works on creating meaningful engagement in the community with learning. A scholar is placed in a non-profit organization where they must volunteer 30 hours each quarter. In return, students who are in the program receive $6,000 of scholarship money per year, for three years, as well as gaining career skills while advocating on social justice. Here is the link to apply for the scholarship: Students who are currently in the program share their experiences they have had. You can apply for the program with this link:

Alyssa Booster

As a CSS scholar, Alyssa volunteers at Living Works. This organization provides after-school tutoring and programs for kids attending Kilmer Elementary. Some duties Booster has are to help children strengthen their reading and math skills. Every day students complete 20 minutes of reading and then they complete their math homework. Most of these children, Alyssa says, are not proficient in reading so the tutors help strengthen those skills by reading with the kids and doing activities.

One memory Booster has with this program is when she was at her service site. The coordinators of the program complimented Booster and her peers for being really involved in the program and working well with the kids. This was an amazing moment to her since some of the kids can be challenging to work with and sometimes she felt like she wasn't helping or making a difference. It is also is a very mutually beneficial relationship because she helps the kids with reading and math, but they have taught her a lot about careers she's interested in.

"The CSS program is really great for people interested in learning about social justice and social issues and then applying those skills at your service site! The things you learn in the classroom go hand in hand with issues in many communities around Chicago. I highly recommend this program and it's a great way to get involved and meet some great people!" -Alyssa Booster

Belma Salihbegovic

Belma found out about the scholarship when she was online looking for some scholarships for each of the colleges she was applying to. She found many scholarships at DePaul and she has a lot of past experience in community service. Learning about social justice is one aspect Belma enjoys about the program by looking at the issues through different privileges and how to figure out how she can help.

Besides doing community service, CSS also hosts a variety of events for the student to participate in. One event that was held was Friendsgiving. Belma enjoyed the event because she met new people who are part of the program since she only knew people from her CSS class. While at the event, she saw how big the CSS program was and interacted with new people. Through her involvement with CSS, she learned the importance of reaching out and helping people, what different forms of oppression look like and how people are marginalized.

"I go to Living Works based in Rogers Park it is a non-profit organization that you go in and help kids who their first language was not English or who are like refugees. I help them learn to read and do tutoring. Currently, I am an assistant there and help with the classroom before I help with tutoring."- Belma Salihbegovic

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.


Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.


A girl who is sad to go

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8 Things We Do In College That You Probably Won't Tell Mom And Dad On Your Weekly Phone Call

A list of the things you do to spice up college life, shhh don't tell the parents.


All of us are experiencing freedom and our own rules for the first time and sometimes we push the limits. So here's the list of the things we probably won't tell mom and dad we did when they call tomorrow morning.

1. Get a Piercing

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There's something sketchy about tattoo parlors and college towns. Overpriced, yet people are still lined out the door because they need a new earring or face piercing SO bad. Until they call mom and she's not happy.

2. Dye your Hair


"Well I thought I'd change things up and Sussie had extra dye"

3. Get a Tattoo


"I got this because I'm a _____ major and we love ______"

or the good ol' Ohio 110 logo.

4. Go on a Bender


Sometimes you think wet week is a good idea. Sadly your bank account, your liver, and early classes think otherwise.

5. Junk Food Splurge


You'll probably eat out too many times in a week and regret it later when you have a food baby.

6. Using the Credit Card for Drinks

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Money is all coming from the same place though, right? Truly sorry for this one.

7. Promiscuity


Being away from home and having your own roof, sort of, lets you make any decision you want. Many students become much more sexually active and let their guard down about safe sex.

8. Bad Decisions


Whether it's blacking out on weekdays, getting an unsafe ride home, or puking while showering, sometimes college gets the best of us. But I can tell you we have a hell of a time doing it.

Mom, if you're reading this, these weren't all my ideas I'm not that bad I swear! And students be safe and try and think before you do something that could make your parents very, very mad.... tattoos are FOREVER.

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