RIT student helps deliver Thanksgiving to those in need

Student Spotlight
Mark Leonardo II, third-year applied arts and sciences (concentrating in packaging and deaf studies)

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A. Sue Weisler

Mark Leonardo, a third-year applied arts and sciences major concentrating in packaging and deaf studies, helps give back to the Rochester community this Thanksgiving through the RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center. Above, Leonardo participated in PB Jam, a charity event sponsored by RIT Hillel, in March.

Mark Leonardo II, a third-year student in RIT’s Center for Multidisciplinary Studies, couldn’t help but smile as he helped deliver food for Thanksgiving to Rochester neighbors in need. Leonardo is one of RIT’s many student volunteers who hold community on the same level as academics.

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I’m from Ashland, Mass.

Q: Why did you decide to come to RIT?
A: Packaging and deaf culture really interest me.

Q: What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?
A: I got kicked out of Universal Studios.

Q: What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you when they first meet you?
A: That I’m afraid of the world.

Q: What types of things are you involved in around campus?
A: I am an orientation assistant and the student advisory board co-president for the RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center. I’m also a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and the Greek Programming Board director. I enjoy being a peer mentor and a member of the RIT/NTID Dance Company.

Q: For those who haven’t heard the RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center, what do they do?
A: It’s a center on campus that helps students gain and excel in developing their leadership and community service skills.

Q: What is the RIT Leadership Institute and Community Service Center doing this fall?
A: We collect canned goods and nonperishables every year to make baskets for families that can’t afford Thanksgiving. I wanted to make this year’s can drive really big.

Q: What type of things do you provide in the baskets?
A: A few of the major student organizations on campus donate a turkey to put in each basket. Then we fill the basket with stuffing, peas, corn and other Thanksgiving items that families might need.

Q: How many baskets did you deliver this year?
A: We delivered eight baskets to families in the downtown Rochester area who can’t afford Thanksgiving.

Q: How can other RIT students get involved with volunteering and helping?
A: Students can stop by our office in suite 1030 in the Campus Center, next to the Student Government office. We always have projects going on! Come ask for more information or go to rit.edu/lead.

Q: What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
A: The good health of all those I care about.

Q: Any advice you would give to other RIT students?
A: Get involved in something that is bigger than you and give back to those less fortunate. Change in the world has to start from somewhere—why not start with you!

Scott Bureau covers student affairs for University News. Contact him at sbbcom@rit.edu with “Student Spotlight” suggestions.