My name is Christian Hammond, and I’m a junior ambassador here at SMU studying biology and political science with minors in European studies and French. I’m originally from Memphis, Tennessee, so SMU and Dallas were an amazing fit for me: southern hospitality combined with all the opportunities and amenities that an incredible city like Dallas has to offer.
Like so many of y’all in high school, I was extremely involved before I came to SMU; I played soccer for a club and my high school, did choir and theater, was an Eagle Scout, and loved being involved with a few service organizations at my high school. Needless to say, when I arrived at SMU as a first year in the fall of 2017, I was ready to jump straight in to everything SMU had to offer.
A “Night at the Club” my freshman year was the best way possible for my college career to start out. For those of you who don’t know, NATC is basically an organizations fair right before the first week of class where every campus organization sets up a table, pushes free t-shirts and food and candy on you, and gets you to sign up for their organization. I gave out my email and number to probably 30 different people that night, and within the first two weeks of school I was already doing community service with Mustang Heroes, attending a campus ministry, and playing intramural soccer and volleyball.
One of the coolest things about SMU’s student involvement programs is that if there’s something you want to do that, by some impossible stretch of the imagination, isn’t already supported on campus, it’s extremely simple to start your own organization. After serving with and leading in Mustang Heroes for two years, a good friend of mine, Darian Taylor, approached me to help him start the Big Event on SMU’s campus. The Big Event is the nation’s largest day of collegiate community service, and we started it in order to give every single SMU student a straightforward and accessible outlet to volunteer with their community and to be united through service. It was so simple to start: all we needed was an advisor, bylaws that we drew up, and funding, which we got easily through Student Senate, and voila: a new student organization!
I think the most important thing that I’ve learned about being involved on campus is to make sure you’re only doing things that you are personally invested in. It’s so easy, especially your first year, to be sucked into saying “yes” to every club and every position that comes your way, but I learned hard and fast that it’s hard to balance school, a social life, organizations, and sleep at the same time. One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn at SMU is how to say no: SMU students are so talented, so involved, and so well-rounded that after a few years, I’ve learned that my “no” is infinitely more valuable than my “yes.” By now, I’ve narrowed down my involvement to the things that I truly care about and that have made a difference in my life. I love being involved with my Greek chapter and serving on the Interfraternity Council executive board, attending my student ministry the Wesley House, working as an ambassador, and serving on the Big Event team. These opportunities have given me a platform to make a difference in my community, and that’s what student involvement is really all about: finding ways to invest in the communities that have invested in you.
Can’t wait to see how y’all get involved on the Hilltop next year! Pony up!
Class of 2021