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Service Learning

Volunteer experiences open new career paths

Published Nov. 9, 2015
Story by Christine Jackson
Photo by Tiffany Melecio

Rivu Dasgupta sits on a chair in the MU Women's Center

University of Missouri senior Rivu Dasgupta discovered a desire to serve others during his first Mizzou Alternative Breaks trip as a freshman. “My favorite thing about Mizzou Alternative Breaks is that it teaches you to be passionate about people.”

The desire to engage with and better his communities has taken senior Rivu Dasgupta across campus and across the country during his time at Mizzou.

Dasgupta is involved with Mizzou Alternative Breaks, which sends students on service trips on weekends and during spring, winter and Thanksgiving breaks. He is also a member of Diversity Peer Educators, a group of students associated with the MU Multicultral Center who facilitate activities and conversations to help educate others about the diverse groups of people who are a part of Mizzou.

“I’ve always been so passionate about education because I believe it is the most consensual way to change the world,” says Dasgupta, a philosophy, pyschology and biology major from Arlington, Texas. “Creating an educational space where people can consensually engage in whether they want their opinion to be changed or not I just think is so cool.”

While both organizations are geared toward helping and educating others, Dasgupta says he’s always surprised at how much he learns about himself in the process. Reaching into these communities has also helped Dasgupta to discover an interest in social issues.

“On that freshman year [Mizzou Alternative Breaks] trip, I feel like I learned what I honestly want to be passionate about for the rest of my life,” Dasgupta says.

These discoveries have opened up new career paths for Dasgupta. He has long considered going into medicine, but now thinks he may go into endocrinology in the hopes of working with trans+ (transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming identities) individuals in the future, blending his interests. He’s also considering staying close to the source of his personal discoveries and finding a place at the university in the Department of Student Life as a coordinator or adviser.

Either way, he’ll be following the passions he’s found and continuing to serve others.

This story was originally published in the division annual report, 2015 Student Affairs Highlights.

Published by the Division of Student Affairs, 211 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 | Phone: 573-882-6776 | Fax: 573-882-0158 | E-mail:

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Last updated: Aug. 15, 2017