Born To Help Others

Cassandra Plows 16

In her own words, Utica College Physical Therapy major Cassandra Plows '16 talks about talks about the importance of helping others and how giving back to her community goes hand-in-hand with her health studies. 

When I first started applying to schools, I knew I wanted to be a physical therapy major. I started applying to small schools, thinking I wanted to go to a small college, and they had to have a good PT program. So I applied to four, and then I started the process of elimination, and finally I really like to be close to home. Utica has a great PT program, they have the gross anatomy lab right on campus, which is huge, and they’re really close to home. It was close enough that I could live on campus and be in my own world, be independent, but also go back home when I wanted to.
I used to go home every weekend, but this year I’ve only been home about three times.
Right now, with the health studies classes I’ve taken so far, I really like it and I really love all my teachers. So I’ve learned a lot so far, and we’ll see what happens in the grad program.
I really love helping people and it’s like – it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do. I just know you’re supposed to help people. It brings me a lot of joy doing that. I had physical therapy twice before I came to college, on my hamstring and on my back, and when I went I thought this is what I want to do with my life. So I decided to go. 
I am in Alpha Omega, which is a service sorority on campus. We’ve been doing so much service. I love that we can just get our name out there in the community, and that we’re helping people on campus, we’re helping the outside community. It’s really fun, it’s great.
I’ve been involved in Circle-K for the last two years. I love Circle-K. We have a little Circle-K family. We do a lot of service stuff – it’s another service club on campus. I’m really involved in my workstudy and my other job on campus – I work at the admissions office, with ambassadors and telecounseling. I love telling people how awesome it is here.
Every year Circle K does inter generational cleanup, with is really fun. We basically just go around to some elderly people in the community and clean up their lawn or their sidewalk, and then we visit them and get to know them. I love that, because not only is that getting us out there, it’s important for us to communicate with people who are not just our own age. And it’s fun for the people whose lawns we’re cleaning.
We do the March of Dimes every year. We do a team for somebody in particular this year. March of Dimes is really fun – we meet a lot of people through there.
This past semester, Alpha Phi Omega has done … we did a hunger banquet to raise awareness for poverty and homelessness. We are currently working on doing a TOMs event, one day without shoes. So we’re all going to go without shoes to raise awareness of the importance of shoes in children’s health and education. Then we’ll be having an event to try and get other people to go without shoes.
We did a lot of things for the community. We did a refugee center event, in collaboration with WRC. We did a clothing drive for the Utica Rescue Mission. We put around various boxes around campus, and people dropped off clothes that they didn’t want. This was for APO. Circle K does the March of Dimes and the Intergenerational Cleanup.
I’ve done over fifteen service projects this semester, but I just can’t think of them all right now.
March of Dimes is my favorite. It’s always touching this time of year, because there’s people walking because they have kids that are survivors. It’s all about premature birth and children that are born with genetic disorders and stuff like that. So it’s just really heartwarming. Not only are there some kids there that are survivors that are walking too, for themselves and for their family, but a lot of teams and families are there for kids who have passed away, and they’re walking in memory. It’s just really heartwarming.
March of Dimes itself has inspired me. I’m personally taking under my wing a walk that I’ll be planning for next semester on campus. It’s very dear to my heart, for a little boy from my home town. It’s just really cool that certain service projects, you start thinking about it, like, maybe I can do something like that and get the campus involved instead of just the outside community. Or get the community involved on our campus. I would love to see more community stuff on campus.

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