He Helps Students Help Out Here and Abroad

October 5, 2009
By Chris Richter

giancolaCongratulations to Mike Giancola for some well-deserved recognition. The News & Observer featured him as its Tar Heel of the Week on Sunday. Giancola is the director of NC State’s Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service (CSLEPS), which helps students do some really meaningful work here and abroad and, in the process, grow as people:

Students who have never flown on an airliner find themselves in places such as post-Katrina New Orleans, Ecuador, Ghana, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka, building houses, improving water systems or working in a free clinic, while navigating a new culture.

Whatever help the students lend to their host country isn’t the main point. It’s to engage their minds and hearts with the broader world, says Giancola, 37.

“I tell students my job is to infect them and make them sick,” he says. “They say ‘What does that mean?’ and I reply ‘I’m going to make you sick with some realities of the world. It’s not for me to tell you what to do about them, but you’ll be called based on whatever force that drives you to do something about it.'”

(Photograph courtesy of NC State News Services)

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