By Liz Crowell
Now that I am almost halfway done with my time in college (which I still refuse to accept), I truly didn’t think that my experience at SMU would continue to diversify and expand. Thankfully, I have been proven wrong with the addition of The Innocence Project of Texas into my daily routine. I was one of those students who changed their major about 5 times and who were always looking for diversity when it came to things to be involved in. I finally settled on a double major in Accounting and Public Policy with a recent addition of a minor in Human Rights last fall semester. This new minor is what spurred my involvement in The Innocence Project. One of my current classes for my minor this semester, History: America’s Dilemma, requires either 20 hours of community service at one of four organizations or equivalently a thesis at the end of the term. Naturally, I accepted the hours over a paper. In this human rights class, we divulge into the history of this topic and issue with the progression of The United States as well as the world. We analyze the role human rights have played and the growth it has experienced in topics such as civil rights, The Holocaust and the political world. Although there is a large amount of reading and work this class is incredible, especially since it allows us to fight for a cause and contribute to individual’s human rights. The required 20 hours of outside community service with The Innocence Project have now become an involvement I look to carry on long past graduation.
Volunteering with SMU’s division of The Innocence Project has allowed me to be a part of something bigger than just papers and tests. With weekly meetings and group discussions on clients, I am able to have first-hand insight into the legal and justice system while working for individual’s exoneration that have been wrongly convicted. When discussing cases and possible strategies, I see myself becoming passionate for a cause that I had never really given a second glance before. Thanks to SMU and the flexibility it gives to its students, I am now able to graduate with 2 majors and a minor…all in 4 years (something my parents are thrilled about). More importantly though, it has given me knowledge about things I am not necessarily studying and the opportunity to hopefully make a difference in individual’s life by working with The Innocence Project; long after 20 hours of service. SMU never ceases to surprise me in the opportunities it provides and I can’t wait to see what else I will come across during the last year and a half of my undergraduate time.