“Private support can have a ripple effect—by supporting one student, you, in turn, can positively impact a multitude of students’ experiences,” said Florida State University student Qaree Dreher. A public relations senior, Dreher’s leadership and participation in several of Florida State’s service organizations has helped enhance both the FSU campus and the Tallahassee community at large. But without the private support he received, Dreher’s undergraduate experience would not have been the same.
“Private support is the reason why I am able to invest my time into bettering Florida State University. Coming into college, my family put forth as much support as they could afford to; however, I knew I would have to work in order to sustain myself,” he added. “[My scholarship and grant] allowed me to focus on making a tangible impact within my community, and I am thankful for that opportunity.”
In total, Dreher has logged more than 1,000 hours of community service in Tallahassee, Tuscaloosa and New Orleans—all possible through the Knight Foundation Garnet and Gold Scholar Society Community Engagement grant and the Service Scholars Program’s Evelyn Haywood Speed Endowed Scholarship.
To become a Garnet and Gold Scholar Society member, Dreher needed to demonstrate excellence in three of five engagement areas: leadership, internship, service, international experience and research. The Knight Foundation grant helped Dreher to successfully complete one of these—the service engagement requirement that included 200 hours of community service.
Similarly, the Service Scholars Program has rigorous requirements in which students, like Dreher, must participate in 75 hours of community service per semester, attend monthly civic engagement meetings and enroll in service-focused courses. As a Service Scholar, Dreher was responsible for annually selecting a dozen incoming high school students who would pledge their time to serve the Florida State and Tallahassee communities. Through this program, Dreher was able to create a positive, sustainable force of change—an accomplishment that makes him the most proud.
“Through my time in the Service Scholars program, I found a love for public affairs and public relations,” Qaree said. Though he is graduating this spring, Dreher will begin the next chapter of his FSU experience by staying in Tallahassee to pursue a graduate degree in integrated marketing communication. “I intend on focusing on analyzing Tallahassee’s brand and ultimately working toward streamlining communication efforts in the city of Tallahassee.”