Dressed in business attire, Harrison Rice’s ’21 first task during a summer marketing internship with Good News Habitat for Humanity was to ride to the city dump with the organization’s president to load 200 cans of old paint and then unload them to be recycled.
“I learned that plans change and I need to be prepared,” he says with a laugh.
Rice applied for the internship wanting to learn more about the structure of a business, but he came away with an even greater appreciation for community. In fact, in order to help more firmly connect the Earlham and Richmond communities, Rice has started a Habitat for Humanity chapter on campus this semester to help with local build projects.
Rice, who played football for and graduated from nearby Northeastern High School, said that while growing up he viewed Earlham like a mythical place.
“I thought only students with a 4.0 grade point average went to Earlham,” he said. “Admissions rep Alex Painter came to my school, and we had a good conversation. Then I started getting recruited, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.”
Now he says he not only gets to do what he loves by playing defensive lineman, but he’s getting “a crazy good” education.
“At Earlham, a lot of your classes make you think deeply about the world and your place in it,” he says. “Earlham is making me evolve, and it’s making me make myself a better person.
“When you read something for class there’s always value or a hidden truth that makes you think deeper about the bigger picture. I love how you learn from just talking to others in class about the lecture or talking about things that are not just about the lecture.”
While at Habitat, Rice says he learned about employee behavior in the workplace, how executives treat employees, and ways to achieve a positive or negative atmosphere in the workplace.
“I learned about office hierarchy,” he says. “I’m taking a conflict resolution class and a leadership class this semester that will help as well.”
During the summer, Rice did a variety of tasks including helping at build sites, checking on completed properties and attending evictions with Richmond Habitat President Alan Stamper, who also played for and graduated from Northeastern. He continues to work with Stamper through a work-study position through the academic year.
“Alan’s giving me a picture of the real world and teaching me the rights and wrongs of business and the importance of communicating and making connections,” he says. “He’s become a mentor.”
Rice also cites football coaches Nick Johnson and Robert Lee as mentors.
“Football teaches you to be a leader,” he says. “Being a leader in hard times has taught me perseverance. I’m on the defensive line, number 85. I love tackling people, and being able to play a college sport is a rare opportunity. I love what I do.”
Rice says he’s thankful that he and a friend visited Earlham’s Center for Career and Community Engagement where he worked with a career coach to secure the Habitat internship and will work with them again to line up a paid internship for the coming summer.