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Student spotlight: Robert Hines

Columbus, Ga., native Robert Hines, a political science and English major who is also working on a Masters of Public Administration, says that as a Student Scholar, he’s been able to see how the university can take academic knowledge out of the classroom and bring it into people’s lives and communities. By engaging in service, the university not only helps bring insight across the state, but builds its own resources as well.

Why do you serve?

I serve because I love where I live and the people around me. I want to contribute to making UGA and Athens a better place for everyone.

What made you want to get involved with service at UGA?

There’s so much opportunity here at UGA. There are lots of different ways to get involved. I wanted to expand my horizons and find out where I can best contribute.

What service and leadership activities are you involved with at UGA?

I’ve been involved in service in a couple different ways that have influenced me. Originally, I had considered going into teaching like my mother. I tutored children at Whatever It Takes, but I began to realize that I may lack the particular knack for connecting with children.  Last year, I enjoyed planning education and social events for the Myers Community Council. I also enjoyed being a part of Georgia Victory 2014; it was definitely fun to go out into neighborhoods and help register votes for Athens. Recently, I’ve become more interested in government. My coursework with the MPA program has me looking a bit more at the nonprofit scene in Athens. I want to expand my reach into the wider Athens community next.

How has service-learning helped you grow as a student or in your personal life?

I’ve really enjoyed the aspects of service-learning that have been woven into the PSO student scholar program. It’s one thing to learn facts about UGA’s extension offices, but it’s definitely better work with them and contribute yourself.  I’m looking forward to taking a service-learning course as soon as one becomes available in my major! I see service-learning as an incredible way to give back, learn more, and build relationships.

Why do you feel it is important for students to participate in public service and outreach? How does it benefit the community?

I think it’s essential for students to participate in public service and outreach. Being able to meet other interested students and faculty who love service at UGA has been a great experience for me. On a larger level, I think that it builds a community here at UGA. A community cannot be built without relationships. Relationship building between students and faculty helps carry the ideas and ideals of the University to the next generation.

What are your plans following graduation?

I want a career in public service. Specifically, my dream is to one day work on policy for the Government Accountability Office. I loved to debate about politics while growing up. However, I was never so much interested in politics as policy. Working for the government would allow me to take those interests into the real world and allow join my desire to serve with an interesting and challenging career.

What are your interests and hobbies outside of school?

I love to cook. Not much makes me happier than whipping up a spicy homemade meal. I’m also pretty enthusiastic about tea. Having a nice hot pot of oolong tea while listening to music is extremely refreshing.

Please list any outside-UGA community service activities you are involved in.

Over the summer I was able to intern Midtown, Inc., a community development nonprofit in Columbus, Ga. Midtown, Inc. advocates for the Midtown district in Columbus by linking business and community interests to the local government. This summer I got to be part of an infrastructure study for the region. I loved the experience and it really motivated me to look into possible policy and service careers.

What is your favorite spot in Athens, at UGA or in Georgia? Why?

My favorite spot in Athens is the O-House dining hall. Unlimited espresso and burritos, count me in! On a serious note, I met my best friends over freshman year while eating at O-House and I’ve made a lot of memories there. It’s been our group’s spot for the last two years.

What motivates you or inspires you in life?

The future motivates me more than anything. Every day the world’s changing and growing; every day impacts tomorrow. I want to be a part of that change and growth for myself and my community. As for inspiration, I always turn to my family. No matter what happens or how discouraged I feel I know that they will always be there to pick me up again.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Be thankful. My parents really taught me not to take life, opportunities, or relationships for granted. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in a negative experience, when in reality you’re blessed. Staying thankful keeps me grounded.

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