Andrew Binger’s mother, born and raised in Jamaica, emphasized the importance of giving back. “Her family wasn’t well off. She always said, “Don’t take for granted the opportunities you have here. Be grateful for them, and give back,” he recalls.
Binger, born in Newark, heeded her words. As a child he received a scholarship to a private school in Livingston, N.J. At Drew, he was awarded the Cleon H. and Elsie Fisher Scholarship for student leadership all four years. But it was not until he joined the Drew Honduras Project, a student-run humanitarian organization, that he discovered the joy in giving back. “It was a great experience. You got dirty, you helped others, and through the process of helping others you learned a lot about the culture you were in and quite a bit about yourself,” he says.
There was no going back. Binger joined Sandy relief efforts on Staten Island. He served breakfast and lunch to the homeless in Washington, D.C. He starred in Drew’s production of “Raisin in the Sun,” but also participated in a program that paired drama students with Newark public high school students. This summer he’s volunteering at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, mentoring students attending Drew’s Summer College program and assisting Educational Opportunity Scholars as a writing fellow.
Binger aspires to become a professor of English or theater. No matter where he lands, there’s no doubt he will give back. “Professors teach, but they also inspire. When I think of the professors I had, I think of people who helped instill that spirit of giving in me.”