Tristan Anderson is an outstanding student who has continually devoted himself to his community since high school and accumulated over 500 hours of community service, for which he was given a award by his school and the mayor. Tristan has been a member of the organization "Heroes and Cool Kids" which focuses on helping middle schoolers deal with bullying, he has worked with the Rotary club assisting them with raising funding for initiatives such as buying water purifiers for the less fortunate in India, and was part of a team of volunteers who delivered turkeys in low income neighborhoods. He believes that addressing social issues starts at the ground level and this means getting the people involved. By understanding their perspective, you can assist them with their ideas on how to improve their community. This approach has developed Tristan's character, making him a more open minded and charismatic person. A humanitarian at heart, Tristan is always looking for the "win-win" approach in a situation, making him not only a more resourceful but also a more compassionate student. This being his second semester I look forward to what Tristan will accomplish in his time at Bergen.
I do not believe that you can accomplish excellence by yourself, to truly achieve greatness you need a team of people around you and this philosophy colors my approach to solving social issues, which I look at through the lens of the people afflicted; I try to understand their pains, their experience and their ideas before doing anything else. I do this because in the end many individuals who are civically involved have the wrong mindset, they believe that they have found the magic solution and can just solve people's problems. This approach can sometimes alienate the people you are trying to assist because you haven't taken the time to truly understand them or their concerns. In addition, even if you do have the solution, without their input, you are not truly "solving" the problem if they have not bought into the idea. Then when you leave, the solution may go with you and the problem remains. It is important to be inclusive and to not take over assuming you always know what is best. Do not simply provide the "fish' but teach them to fish for themselves and the solution will truly be long term.