Tech student leaves strong philanthropic mark

Photo by Sho Kitamura

In an effort not only to better the Tech community, but also to improve community service organizations around Tech, Emma Bones, now a graduate student in Civil Engineering, created the Community Service Council.

At the time, Bones could not have realized how her project would not only develop her own leadership skills, but also dynamically impact the Tech community.

Bones has been very involved in community service, starting her freshman year tutoring with Techwood Tutorial Project [TTP], the oldest community service program at Tech, where she tutored students at Bethune Elementary School.

During her sophomore year, Bones was the student coordinator for TTP and was heavily involved with Hispanic tutoring. She also was an active member in MOVE,an umbrella organization for undergraduate community service.

During her time with MOVE and especially after she became president during her junior year, Bones focused on organizational growth and making service more accessible to everyone, including international and graduate students.

During her senior year, Bones saw the need for an organization to help other organizations grow and get funding, so she formed the Community Service Council (CSC) to support service organizations. The CSC impacted some organizations more than others, but most importantly, it got the conversation going about what service should look like on Tech’s campus.

During her extensive time in leadership, Bones made it her goal to create a friendly atmosphere and make sure people were excited to go to meetings.

“Before each meeting, we would have a catch-up session where we would get to know people and maybe even play icebreakers. Making friends makes sharing the work so much easier and more fun,” Bones said.

“Always surround yourself with good people and let them see their ideas through. Be open minded, and your own ideas will change for the better,” Bones added.

Along with community service, Bones loves traveling, and she studied abroad the summer after her freshman year, and says  it was one of her favorite academic experiences. She participated in the Spanish LBAT in both Mexico and Spain.

“Go and get lost in the program. Don’t just hang out with Americans—make friends who are natives and learn about their culture. Study abroad takes away the fear of the unknown,” Bones recommended. “As Americans, we sometimes build up a perception  of how things are supposed to be, but you’ll get there and think, ‘no, this is quite lovely.’ ”

Mexico City is Emma Bones’ favorite city.

“You can go anywhere and do anything, but you will find also little neighborhoods within the massive city. I loved my walk to school everyday,” Bones said.

She also did not waste any opportunity to help people around her, however, even during study abroad. Bones researched in Ghana and later took a water treatment class in Nicaragua, where they worked on improving wells and water distribution through mapping water points with mobile technology.

This last summer, Bones presented her work from Nicaragua at a conference in Kenya. Many students study abroad in Europe, but Bones recommends going to somewhere drastically different from the U.S., such as Mexico, Latin America or Asia.

Even after her many experiences abroad, Bones still loves the Tech community and campus. Her favorite places to hang around Tech are the Tech Green and outside Tech Tower to lounge on the grass and enjoy a beautiful day. Bones also finds Tech Walkway to be a great place to sit along and see many friends and to catch up with people.

Since she spent so much time at Tech, Emma cites the Office of Leadership and Civic Involvement as a place that “feels like home.”

Off campus, Bones love atmosphere of the Stomping Ground on Cyprus Street.

“It’s a great place to cheer on the Yellow Jackets while they’re away, and the waiters know our group of friends’ names,” she said.

Currently, Bone’s favorite community service project is tutoring at a local homeless shelter. She tutors women pursuing their GED.

“I love the women and it’s a blast,” said Bones.

Bones said the most unique and significant service project she ever participated in was on the MLK day of service when she spent the day working away next to Dr. King’s church.

In the future, Bones hopes to gain industry experience and apply her knowledge to “cool” projects. Specifically, Emma wants to find creative ways to manage water resources.

“I love water,” Bones added.

Bones believes that all of her experiences, from study abroad to community service, have helped her in her studies and future career in engineering. Through them she has learned “understanding and compassion empathy.”

Bones maintains that extracurricular experiences like her’s can make students better engineers.

“You can better understand many different sides of a problem and come up with a better solution,” she said.

“Do only what you enjoy and pour into it,” Bones said. “Don’t over-involve yourself; extracurriculars should be fun. Don’t do anything just to ‘bolster your resume,’ but do something because you enjoy it.”