Published: September 29, 2017

Daniel Holahan ’18 stumbled into being a community service advocate in the eighth grade. It grew in high school and then while at UT, “PEACE amplified that passion.”

“I’ve been humbled by having three years at UT where I feel pretty comfortable in what it is I care about,” said Holahan, who wants a career in social entrepreneurship. “I have been able to give a lot of my time to community service to really cultivate that passion and make an impact on other people who have found their passion because of it.”

Holahan is the student coordinator of the PEACE Volunteer Center, and active in St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn, the Hult Prize, the ELITE leadership program and Student Government. He’s also the director of operations for the startup, Just Grow, which is being incubated in the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center and whose purpose is “to strengthen society’s connection to nature through gardening technology and nature.”

Holahan, an entrepreneurship major, was recently selected as the winner of the 2017 Florida Campus Compact Award in the Student Excellence in Service Sector. The Florida Campus Compact is a network of college and university presidents and their institutions who work together on initiatives promoting civic-minded, career-ready graduates. The competitive award is judged by faculty members who are recognized experts in the fields of engaged scholarship and community engagement.

“Dan embodies what it means to be Spartan Ready,” said Stephanie Russell Krebs, vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “His leadership of the PEACE Volunteer Center over the years has been truly exemplary. Dan focusses his passion, talents and energy on creating sustained social change.”

Ian McGinnity, director of the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement, described how Holahan co-supervises a staff of 16 students, adding that he has fantastic organization skills which he demonstrates by creating weekly agendas, completing performance reviews and overseeing a large budget. McGinnity said Holahan has been instrumental in creating a strategic staff development plan for the PEACE Volunteer Center, which has impacted the University of Tampa and Tampa Bay communities immensely. He also notes Holahan has successfully elevated the reputation of the PEACE Volunteer Center and has served as its visible ambassador.

“Dan has made an incredible impact at The University of Tampa,” McGinnity said. “He exemplifies how to prioritize service and makes it a focus each day.”

Holahan’s understanding of community service and its broad scope has matured with each year at UT. His participation in alternative breaks — whether in Baltimore to work on food insecurity or in Morocco to teach English or in San Francisco to study immigration — has given him a more holistic perspective.

“I had only done community service as independent events. Spending a week looking at this issue’s interconnectedness shifted how I view community service, and demonstrated the difference between meaningful and sustainable community service and one-time (while still positive) Band-Aids,” said Holahan of his first alternative break to Baltimore, where he focused on food insecurity and sustainable agriculture through community gardens. “Sustainable agriculture ties into food insecurity which ties into poverty which ties into resource allocation in these cities. The issues aren’t silo-ed off.”

Holahan receives his greatest reward from seeing that light for service become ignited in his peers.

“There’s power in motivating other people, educating or enlightening in them their own passion for community service,” he said. “I, as an individual, can do as much community service as I want, but what I found to be a really cool role that I didn’t think I could do — and only saw once I came to UT — was being in a position and working with students to have them empower other students to do community service and building that network out. Those ripples are really cool.”

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