Student makes volunteering a way of life

Arimus Wells knows from experience that volunteering can open new doors and ways of thinking. It’s a lifestyle choice that has become second nature to him. He doesn’t wait for the other guy to step up; he is that guy.

“College is not entirely about academics,” says Wells, a third-year sociology and public policy major. “The most important thing an institution can do for a student is to prepare them not only for a career, but for life as a citizen. This is why we need students to get involved in extracurricular activities. By getting involved, you’re able to understand who you are as a person and what you’re passionate about.”

This is not a new philosophy for Wells, who has logged more than 3,000 volunteer service hours since high school. Moving around in a military family, Wells noticed a stark contrast in cultural perspectives, which he says has enabled him to view life through a different lens.

“I view the world as a wounded sphere that needs repairing,” Wells says. “Very early on, I saw that we needed more everyday citizens to take proactive measures to address the world’s growing issues. Therefore, why not start with myself? Volunteering was the outlet to my calling.”

At DU, Wells serves as a public achievement (PA) coach to under-represented youth through the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL).

“My job as a PA coach is to develop the community-organizing skills inherent within each of my students, as well as inspire them to serve as long-term change agents for their respective communities,” Wells says. “Each week, I design interactive lesson plans around the student’s interests and needs of the community. Our work culminates with an action project that directly addresses an unjust issue within the community.”

In addition, he is marketing co-chair for the DU Programming Board (DUPB) and serves as assistant coordinator for the Excelling Leaders Institute (ELI) at the Center for Inclusive Excellence, Student Success and Leadership Development.

“ELI is a phenomenal program that challenges a group of matriculating first-year students to recognize their identity and self-worth by articulating their personal stories,” he says. “Because of ELI, I was able to discover my purpose and empower others to do so as well.”

Wells hopes to pursue an MBA after graduation. His career goals include starting a nonprofit organization centered on education, as well as a business centered on developing and providing opportunities. “It’s quite an ambitious endeavor, but my dreams outweigh the fears,” he says.

And volunteering will continue to be part of his life.

“Not only are you taken over by an incredible feeling of gratitude and appreciation, but it activates a new way of thought,” Wells says. “Your perspective begins to change. You’re able to understand the complexity of life and envision sustainable practices in order to preserve it. Volunteering has become a part of me; it’s my sixth sense.”


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