As one of four co-presidents of the upcoming junior class at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., Elise Babbel will have many high-profile opportunities to serve others. There will be the banquets and alumni dinners. There will be opportunities to speak and offer counsel and encouragement. But for this junior from Bryn Mawr, Pa., it's "more the little things than the big" that enrich lives.
"I've been given so much," she said. "I try to make service a part of life. It's easy as a college student to focus on yourself. I walk into the cafeteria and my meals are prepared. Time is spent doing what I need to do. So it's nice to take advantage of opportunities that concentrate on helping others."
As a sophomore, Elise used her calling as co-chairman of the Friday Forum at the LDS institute to organize speakers who offered a spiritual perspective to some of the social conflicts that can arise on campus, such as the attitude to postpone marriage in pursuit of a career, or the Word of Wisdom, or origins of life.
Joining Elise as co-presidents are Danny Cox, who recently joined the Church and was influential in encouraging Elise to run for office, as well as two other students who are service-oriented.
Plans for the upcoming year for the junior class include several service days on which projects around the community will be organized and students invited to assist.
Elise believes one of the greatest activities of the Stanford 1st Ward, a single student ward in the Menlo Park California Stake, is the opportunity to teach younger students as part of a ward tutoring project. "I think the project was organized by our bishop, who is a great leader," she said. "Twice a week, students from the ward meet at our meetinghouse, which is near campus, and tutor students who are brought to us by parents in the stake.
"It's amazing to see the changes. These are kids who sometimes get involved with the wrong friends or who need encouragement to learn. It's fun to work with the kids. It's good for them to have someone on their side, to show them the value of learning." Shaun D. Stahle
Another in a series of "Shining Moments."
llustration by John Clark.