Lindsey Earl, a graduate student in Anthropology and Applied Community Economic Development at Illinois State University, is committed to service and social change and regularly demonstrates dedication to equality and collaborative action for the public good. Lindsey's graduate research relates to community responses to people experiencing homelessness. As an undergraduate student Lindsey founded a fair trade organization, led alternative break trips, and facilitated events for the Center for Public Deliberation. She then served two years with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps before starting graduate school. In addition to four graduate level classes and a 20-hour-per-week assistantship Lindsey organizes volunteer activities for the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development students.
Through participation in service-based living communities, alternative breaks, and AmeriCorps NCCC, I developed an unwavering commitment to public service. In my service experiences, I was exposed to the diverse peoples and places within the United States, as well as the social structures that alter life chances. I am studying at Illinois State University to further understand the complexities of the social systems, which dictate quality of life for marginalized peoples. In NCCC, I removed garbage at a homeless encampment and noticed abrasive treatment of the homeless by law enforcement. Therefore, for my thesis, I am analyzing the creation and enforcement of anti-camping laws. Then, I will create a best practice guide to assist police officers in ethical decision-making and lobby for a change in city code so the homeless are not incriminated for basic human functions. Just as my service experiences were a call to action and motivation for education, I believe service can do the same for others. For this reason, my professional goals are to found or lead a non-profit which bolsters cross-cultural service and advocacy opportunities for young people. I am confident a cultural emphasis on service could alleviate social problems perpetuated by ethnocentrism and complacency.