Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholar Spotlight: Marcus Biddle

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By Tom McLaughlin

Since its inception in fall 2011, the Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholars program has partnered with more than forty organizations in the university’s host city, with Civic Scholars – committing 300 hours of community service in an academic year – contributing to projects and initiatives ranging from community building, healthcare, volunteer recruitment, homeless outreach, youth program enrichment, college access, and urban environmental justice.

On May 21, nine Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholars will be the first from this fast-growing and indispensable cadre of volunteers to graduate from Rutgers–Camden – including four from the original cohort: Amy Mallon, Shaili Patel, Angelica Shaw, and Russell Tichian.

In a series of portraits, these exemplary humanitarians share their invaluable experiences and lessons learned, and offer words of advice for others interested in taking this personal pledge of service.

Marcus Biddle
Major: Urban Studies
Prior Education: Attended Camden County College
Hometown: Pennsauken

Inspiration to Serve

I became a Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholar in spring 2014. I hadn’t even realized that the program was around until the second semester of my junior year, and was already involved with several nonprofits in Camden before I joined Civic Scholars. I also knew most of the Civic Scholars before I joined, so it just seemed like a great program that would help me continue my work.

Primary Roles

I started volunteering at The Neighborhood Center in Camden as a program assistant, which lasted my entire spring semester. I had gotten connected with a few other nonprofits as well, including New Visions, a day service center that serves Camden’s homeless community. It seemed like I got connected with the whole city after that.

Fresh Ideas

I think that one of the advantages of the Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholars program is that it can bring in new folks with a fresh set of ideas to the City of Camden. I want to see more experience and more ideas.

It’s Okay Not to Know

Stay humble. It’s okay to not know everything – or anything – about Camden. Sometimes it’s not about what you think you can offer the city; it’s what the city can offer for you. Sometimes, unexpectedly, the people in this city have given me more than I have given them. That’s why I continue to do my work and will continue to do so after I graduate.

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

I think that sometimes we forget the little things. Don’t worry about trying to fix the city. Every bit of change takes one person. Whether it’s the Civic Scholars program or another program that gets you involved in Camden, if you make a friendship with just one person in this city, then that’s all you need.

Posted in: Community Outreach

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