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Adrian Gonzalez, Political Science Junior

Head of the CLAS

Adrian GonzalezAdrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez has known since taking a service trip to the Dominican Republic in high school that he wanted to pursue a career that would allow him to make a difference in the world. But it wasn’t until he spent an afternoon distributing clothing to the homeless in Gainesville’s Downtown Community Plaza that his ideas became more focused.

“I always wanted to ‘do good,’ but I didn’t know exactly what I needed to do,” he said. “I was unguided, I had no north star, but after talking with the homeless and hearing their stories, I felt alive and knew this was where I needed to be.”

The political science junior now volunteers twice a week with the homeless of Gainesville. In addition to serving as the philanthropy chair of his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Adrian is also Vice President of Programming in the Dean of Students Office’s Center for Leadership and Service—where one of his favorite projects has been coordinating events for Hunger and Homelessness Week.

Over spring break this March, Adrian will volunteer on a disaster relief mission to New Orleans through the Florida Alternative Breaks program, rebuilding poor communities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Adrian credits Sociology of Religion instructor David L. Reznik for opening his eyes to the plight of the homeless.

“I have had a huge paradigm shift and am dedicated to helping those normally overlooked in our society,” Adrian said. “The value of money is completely arbitrary, while the value of people is intrinsic. There has to be something wrong with a system that doesn’t allow all its people to enjoy prosperity.”

In hopes of changing the system, Adrian is planning to become a civil rights or poverty lawyer. But before entering law school, he plans to spend a year serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. In 2006, the Dean of Students Office named Adrian Volunteer of the Year.

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Buffy Lockette

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