What Altruism Means to Me: a Reflection of a Boston Alumnus

The following is an excerpt of an email written by Summer Search Boston alumnus Francisco Rodriguez after a meeting with Summer Search staff, Ines Ariceta and Seth James Ellis. Lightly edited and shared with permission.


Ines and Seth,

I always relish those opportunities in which I can reconnect with Summer Search. You mentioned to me that Summer Search recruits its alumni (for staff roles) differently than it would other people. You said that the approach is one that must be different because to alumni, Summer Search feels like a family business.

Over the latter half of the day I have reflected on this and I realize that Summer Search success is personal to us alumni — it signifies growth and change in our own communities and in our schools. To me, Summer Search success means more people of color who will look at the outdoors and relish the freedom that can be found in the wild. It means more resilient citizens of the world that are fearless in their day-to-day actions and aspirations.

Francisco-EverestSummer Search Boston alumnus Francisco Rodriguez on a recent trip to Mount Everest.

Altruism for me has meant that I should strive to provide others with the opportunities that have been given to me. Experiences like the ones I went through in Summer Search showed me so much eye-opening beauty about the natural earth, showed me so much about human compassion and understanding absent of a common language and culture. It showed me the toxicity of self-imposed and societal labels. Put simply, Summer Search led me to discover such beauty and hope that I wish others have at least the opportunity to experience the same.

I hope that both of you will me keep in mind for any volunteer opportunities that you might have, because I believe whole-heartedly in Summer Search’s mission and I thank you both for your hard work.

– Francisco Rodriguez


Francisco graduated in 2015 from the University of Massachusetts, Boston with a degree in Economics. He now lives in Boston, and is a research analyst for GeoAdaptive LLC, helping municipalities and urban planners understand, visualize, and present complex datasets.

To borrow his own words, Francisco is definitely a “resilient citizen of the world” who “relishes the freedom that can be found in the wild.” You can keep up with his fearless travels on his Instagram.

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