Shaquan Hagans is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Psychology. He is passionate about helping students find communities where they can be themselves and connect with others. Shaquan actively helps students connect with one another through residence hall activities and campus-wide social events as part of Hall Council and the Activities Programming Board. As a member of the ASPiRE Living-Learning Program, Shaquan has taken classes to learn about the Richmond community and done more than 100 hours of volunteering to support local initiatives. He has found the most rewarding opportunities from mentoring his peers and youth in the community. Shaquan hopes to find ways to make mentoring more widespread among VCU students and a sustainable option for connecting the university to the community.
My first semester freshman year at VCU encouraged me to branch out of my social comfort zone. I joined Homecoming court and, through the Activities Programming Board (APB), collaborated on making student life more engaging on campus. My sophomore year I joined VCU ASPiRE, a living-learning program, which allowed me to communicate with peers for the improvement of the community and connect us with various nonprofit organizations in the Richmond area. Some of my most memorable moments within the program include mentoring with Carver Elementary School, helping out with issues related to food insecurity, and helping to uncover missing graves at the Evergreen Cemetery, an historic African American cemetery. The presence of an engaging community with my fellow peers on campus provided an inclusive and safe space while fostering awareness on campus. Over the past year, I gained a psychology service-learning internship to mentor local youth through the Health and Science Academy at VCU. This internship helps by improving my mentoring skills by applying psychological concepts to encourage career exploration and professional development in youth throughout Richmond. Through volunteering, I see the impact I have on the community and how others can unify to solve common issues.