Paul Rotzal, a junior chemistry major at La Salle University, is a student leader active in issues of social justice. Paul came to La Salle with an impressive history of service, and has expanded on that during his time at La Salle. As a freshman, Paul began working with AIDS Outreach, a program that partners with a local home for people living with HIV/AIDS who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, and in need of rehabilitative and supportive care. Later coordinating that program, Paul has worked to attract new volunteers and create awareness opportunities for campus about HIV/AIDS. Paul is also a student coordinator of the TEAM Lasallian program, which works with the Philadelphia Police Athletic League and local Boys and Girls Club. As a sophomore, Paul led a trip that provides in-class support and mentorship to the De La Salle Blackfeet School on the Blackfeet Reservation and will be participating in a similar trip that travels to Nyeri, Kenya in May 2018. Paul actively encourages members of the La Salle community to become aware and involved in issues of social and economic justice, both locally and globally.
My passion for service was integrated into my life during my freshman year at La Salle where I was exposed to various social justice issues that I previously did not realize were so significant. One issue that had a momentous impact on me was the AIDS epidemic. Forming relationships with residents of the Calcutta house, a home for people living with AIDS, made me passionate about spreading awareness to help destigmatize AIDS. While I am thoroughly involved with collaborating with the AIDS community, I also find that I am passionate about the important issue of education. I realized the importance of education on my immersion trip to the Blackfeet Montana reservation where I served as a teacher's aide at the De La Salle Blackfeet School. There, I was exposed to several issues that affect education, such as rural poverty. I was left perplexed about why things like this occur but my experience there also connected many puzzle pieces for me. I realized how pivotal learning is and how it can be used to spark change in the world. Knowledge is power, and with it I hope to make change so that someday these injustices are a thing of the past.