Triple major finds time to help community

Look out world

Davon Harris left the Bronx and came to Binghamton University ready to explore new ideas. Four years later, he graduated with a triple major.

“I always heard that you can learn whatever you wanted in college, so my freshman year I took an array of classes including philosophy, Africana studies and Latin American and Caribbean studies,” he says. “I always wanted to learn about my history as an African American, so that’s why I became an Africana studies major.”

While pursuing two other majors in Latin American and Caribbean studies and human development, Harris experienced his first trip abroad and volunteered to help show high school students the opportunities that education can offer.

Harris came to Binghamton through the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which offers academic and financial support to students who may not have the opportunity to attend college. Among his activities, Harris spent the past three years as treasurer of the Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program (JUMP Nation).

“We have a weekend where we bring at-risk youth from the inner city up to the University,” the 22-year-old says. “We then pair them up with mentors. Our goal is to decrease the rate of high school dropouts and encourage them to pursue higher education.”

“Harris has distinguished himself as a serious young scholar who is committed to working in communities,” says Associate Professor Leo Wilton of the College of Community and Public Affairs. “He reflects the heart and spirit of the Binghamton tradition of academic excellence with a strong commitment to social justice.”

During winter break, Harris studied abroad in China. The most valuable lesson he learned was what it means to adjust.

The dorms he stayed in had no heat, which meant he had to wake up each morning to heat up the water to take a hot shower.

“China was great. I had a lot of memorable moments, but we didn’t have it all. I learned not to take what I have here for granted,” he says.

Harris wants to one day become a doctor. But at graduation, he was leaning toward a stint in the Peace Corps first.

“I really want to join the Peace Corps somewhere in South America or the Caribbean so I can apply some of the concepts I have learned in class,” he says. “I have my whole life ahead of me; you can reinvent yourself whenever you like. I may want to go into the Peace Corps, but that won’t stop me from becoming a doctor.”