Recent Graduate Recognized for Exceptional Community Service
Deeya Deepak is the 2023 undergraduate recipient of the William J. Block Award for Service to the university and broader community. The School of Public and International Affairs awards this significant recognition to a graduating senior who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to public service during their time at NC State University. Deeya, a political science major with a concentration in international politics and minors in both psychology and statistics, exhibited all the traits of community leadership and public service that the Block Award celebrates. Service is deeply ingrained in Deeya’s life.
Community service is giving back to the community that helped you in some way. It’s not something I feel obligated to do, but something I want to do to pay it forward.
Deeya felt the drive to better the situations of those around her. She remained committed to service through an internship she held with the Office of Parents and Families Services at NC State for many years. Her work directly benefited the university community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when many students needed increased support. One project she recalls was collecting donations for students in COVID-19 isolation housing after the school announced it would discontinue meal services. Deeya involved parents and family members in the community to create isolation housing kits and write words of encouragement and positivity.
Most of Deeya’s projects involve members of the NC State community, such as the Pack Kindness Rocks Initiative. During this initiative, NC State students and their siblings painted rocks with pictures, kind words, and words of encouragement for students to be placed around campus in locations like Talley Student Union, the Court of North Carolina, Hunt Libraries, and the Engineering Buildings on Centennial Campus. “It has been a challenging year for the Wolfpack, and many students have struggled,” Deeya said. “However, through personal experience, I have found it just takes something small to make a difference in someone’s day. The hope was that when people found these, they would have a bit of kindness dosed into their day.” Deeya went on to explain the importance of kind acts, no matter how small, and their wide ramifications.
Deeya describes working with shelter dogs as her most rewarding experience. She has worked with the Humane Society of York County and an organization called Tails of the Trails. “While working with the Humane Society, I helped with facility upkeep so prospective adopters would have a pleasant experience when they came in to adopt a pet. As for my work with Tails of the Trails, I walked shelter dogs around parks in Charlotte to help them get some much-needed exercise and socialization.” She aimed to transform her passion for animals into meaningful community service that she would incorporate into her daily routine. “When I started working with this organization, Charlotte’s shelters were overflowing at the time, and as someone who rescued their dog, it means so much to help other dogs get adopted to their forever homes.”
Deeya tells others to remember the value of their work, whether or not they can see a tangible outcome, and continue community service where and when they can across campus. “The best way to help the community is to be there, boots on the ground doing the work,” she said.
As she turns her tassel and ends her time as an undergraduate student, she encourages NC State students to leave everything better than how they found it. “I have been so grateful to have an impact on my community, and I am even more thankful for the lessons I have learned doing so and the experiences I have had along the way.”
The William J. Block Award recognizes a graduating senior from the School of Public and International Affairs who has demonstrated exceptional community service, public engagement and a record of academic achievement. It was created in honor of William J. Block, who had a long and distinguished career at NC State. A popular professor, he chaired the political science department, created the public administration department, served as chair of the faculty senate, and was active in his community and city politics. His commitment to his students and the larger community was profound. After he retired in 1984, Professor Block continued to advise students for many years.