Academic Read #11: The Little Things (Like Marshmallows)

From our Statement of Affirmation: A Jesuit University will exemplify a “dedication to human dignity from a Catholic/Jesuit faith perspective.”

“Please don’t eat that Sophia.”

Across from me, a deer-eyed five year old was caught in the headlights of my gaze, frozen elbow deep in a bag of marshmallows intended for that days’ craft. Despite my desires, her hand plummeted into the bag, promptly retrieved jet puff, and deposited in with a grin. With a laugh, I followed her lead, and with a finger to my lips, told her not to tell the other kids.

The innocence of a child is something that should never be compromised. Here at Gonzaga, I was given the opportunity to help children maintain their childhood spirits through SMILE. Every Friday, along with my peers, I went to Browne Elementary School to participate in an after school program where kids were allowed to forget about their stresses at home and just be kids for an hour. Little did I know that the impact of my efforts would be two-fold.

For every ounce of energy I put into the children, I was returned a pound. Returning to campus every Friday night, I felt the bittersweet mixture of frustration from the stories of the children’s home lives and hope that the weekly hour of reprieve we offered them would result in the betterment of their lives.

After my first month of SMILE, my weekly service was no longer a chore, but a gift that I looked forward to every week. As your journey at Gonzaga begins, I hope you consider programs and experiences like SMILE; if not for the opportunity to serve, then for the occasional marshmallow.


Michael Orcutt is a sophomore biochemistry major from Casper, Wyoming. His favorite place on campus is the benches by Lake Arthur. Something most people don’t know about him is that he once met Kanye West in the Milan airport!

IGNITE Question: Eating marshmallows with Sophia was a defining moment in Michael’s Gonzaga Experience. What has been something that has shaped you in high school or in your previous school?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *