LSA junior Sammie Lyons recalls a quote by E.B. White for daily inspiration: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”

Lyons’ pursuit to make the people around her happier and better off are exemplified through her involvement on campus. Along with being a diversity peer educator at Mary Markley Hall, she is the development chair of Dance Marathon and the president of Campus Cursive — a student organization she founded that sends love letters to individuals in effort to empower and uplift them. She also works as the undergraduate chair for the student campaign committee in the University’s Office of Development.

For Lyons, she understood that her limited time at the University would be shaped not in a classroom, but through the work she did with her peers and community.

“Most of the learning you’re going to get from this education is going to be your work on campus,” Lyons said. “It’s not going to be you looking at a computer screen writing a paper, or reading a textbook. It’s going to be about the events you put on for your organization, it’s going to be learning how to communicate with other people and understand how to empathize with other people.”

Specifically, Lyons finds her motivation through community service and philanthropic work.

For most of her time on campus, her primary involvement has been working with Dance Marathon. DMUM is a large student-run organization on campus that helps raise money and awareness for pediatric rehabilitation therapy at local hospitals. Furthermore, Lyons has been part of Alpha Phi Omega, the professional fraternity devoted to community service, participated in an alternative spring break at an HIV/AIDS resource center in Texas.

Lyons says her involvement in the community and serving others is what gives her motivation in life. She describes herself as someone “built for others.”

“Who we are as people is defined by the relationships that we’ve had,” Lyons said.

One of her motivations for helping the University community came after the death of her grandfather, who she described as a supporter of her work and a prominent person in her life. She said her family has over thirty-four degrees from the University and that her younger siblings, Jack and Casey, will soon add to that number.

Currently, Lyons spends a lot of her time working as a diversity peer educator in Markley. In her position, she advises a multicultural council for freshmen and addresses instances of bias. She mentors over 1,200 freshmen and helps create a welcoming, respectful community for students of all identities.

Though this follows her theme of striving to help communicate with others and empower them, she says it has also challenged her the most in her time on campus.

Specifically, Lyons noted an instance where she unintentionally harmed a peer through a question about a form of cultural expression. She said the instance help challenge her own preconceived thoughts, and taught her how great the impact she can have on others is.

“It helped me see that the language I use is so powerful,” Lyons said.

When she isn’t working, Lyons says she enjoys playing the piano, drinking tea, and running. As a sophomore, she served as one of two social chairs for MRun.

After graduating, Lyons will continue to help make a difference in the community by joining the Peace Corps and then heading to medical school. She also wants to hike a long-distance trail.

She said the best thing students on campus and in the community could do is to leave their comfort zones, and learn to love all other people without an agenda.

“Meet people to meet people, don’t meet them with an agenda,” Lyons said. “Be willing to change the blueprint that you might have set for yourself.”

Correction appended: This article has been updated with several new pieces of information provided after the time of publication.

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