Santa Clara Community Brings Sunshine to ACE Alum’s Life
Kevin Wetzel - ACE Class of 2009
A lot has happened since I graduated in the winter of 2008. It’s easy to turn on the news and be discouraged at the lack of goodness in the world, but over the last four years I’ve seen more good in the world than I ever thought possible.
When I graduated from Santa Clara, the United States was in the midst of the “Great Recession,” the worst economic downturn in 75 years. It was a time when you would think most people would be taking care of themselves only, but in the midst of an often frustrating job search I received an email from the undergraduate business office, telling me that they thought I would be a good candidate for a position that was brought to them by a recent alumnus. I’ve now been at SunPower for four amazing years and if it hadn’t been for unsolicited help I got from the Santa Clara community I’m not sure where I would be right now.
I also get to see everyday superheroes in action through charitable organizations like Project Open Hand and GRID Alternatives where I spend time giving back to the community. I witness the same sense of giving in my fellow Santa Clara grads who choose to be teachers, mental health professionals, and work in many other professions where putting others ahead of yourself is the first line in the job description. Most often I see the generosity and care in people through the little acts of kindness, like getting a phone call from an old friend who just wants to check in, or receiving a much needed hug when you’re feeling down.
When I think back to the tragic events over the last four years, I find myself remembering not the terrible acts themselves, but the good deeds and heroism of the first responders, and it gives me hope. I’ve been blessed with an amazing job, I’ve kept close with Santa Clara friends and made great new ones, and I’ve had the privilege of giving back to the community through various charitable organizations. I think about my friends who have picked me up when I’ve been down, and made sure that I know I’m never alone.
If I’ve learned anything over the last few years it’s not to underestimate the good in the person beside you. I for one will keep on believing that we can live out our Jesuit education, enabling social justice and caring for each other, one good deed at a time.
ACE Class of 2009
This piece was originally published in the Spring 2013 edition of the ACE Newsletter. It has been edited for length.