Jessica Dutille ’03, ’04G
High-Impact Learning Coordinator, Center for Business and Community Partnerships
Jessica Dutille’s remarkable record of service to others started in a most ordinary way. As a sophomore marketing student at Plymouth State, she was walking through the HUB when she saw a poster advertising Alternative Spring Break, enticing volunteers to “meet new friends, travel, and do something good for other people.”
“I thought, I want to try that,” she recalls. “So I went on this trip to build a Habitat for Humanity home in South Carolina and I found my heart—I realized there’s more to life than I ever realized, this idea that we are in this together and whatever you give, you absolutely receive.”
The Lebanon native has lived by those words ever since, blossoming into a valued and admired faculty member and community leader who advocates student volunteerism in the form of community service and service learning. Her message to every student is simple; you’ll get as much out of it as you put in.
“There is so much to be gained from reaching out and connecting with someone to make a difference,” she says. “Service here is very intentional—it’s not coming in on your white horse and saving people from themselves; it’s really about recognizing our connection to one another—our humanity—and that we have so much to learn from these experiences and interactions than we are ever able to give.”
Whether she’s on the job as the high-impact learning coordinator for PSU’s Center for Business and Community Partnerships or as the executive director of the Pemi Youth Center (PYC), she lives for the times when a student realizes helping others can be so meaningful.
“Those moments where students say to me, ‘Wow, at first I didn’t want to commit 30 hours of service for my class requirement, but I showed up and all of a sudden not only did I have an opportunity to impact someone’s life, it was my life that was transformed.’ Those are the amazing things I get to be a part of, and it’s such a privilege.”
Ever optimistic, she sees potential in helping even more young people in area communities.
“There’s no limit to how many youth we could impact, if we base it on gratitude and love and teaching young people the treasure of who they are and what they can accomplish,” she says. “I have big dreams for developing really meaningful community and service learning opportunities for our students.”
Her boundless energy and enthusiasm for helping others is all the more impressive when you realize she’s the mother of three young children and working toward her doctoral degree in education. Her life is hectic, but she credits husband Bryan for his support.
“It wouldn’t be possible for me do all these things that really matter to me if he didn’t understand how much it means,” she says.
She is also quick to credit her parents, Darlene and Robert Orf, with inspiring her to help other people.
“My parents are exceptional; they have always led by example. The idea of reaching out and connecting with people, recognizing we’re all equal—they instilled that in my brother and me as we were growing up. That’s the real stuff in life that I have the privilege of being a part of every day—getting to the heart and meaning of what we’re really here for.” –Bruce Lyndes
Photos by Kaleb Hart ’11