Exeter Social Service Organization


ESSO is a student-led service learning organization, which emphasizes direct service to the community.  We define serve in the broadest sense, meaning that our work is not limited to any one group or label, but rather extended to all desiring help.  Students are encouraged to “think globally, act locally”. 

ESSO offers a wide variety of clubs that cater to a myriad of interests and specialties.  Students can participate and lead ESSO clubs, and are encouraged to take a bigger role in shaping their communities.  Student leadership is the backbone of the ESSO experience.  Students train other students who organize and administer their programs. The organization grows on the initiative of its participants, who can both create and evolve programs to better their service. 

Learning and reflection are crucial components that strengthen the members’ experience and enhance the meaning of community service.  ESSO emphasizes accountability and responsibility.

ESSO was established in name in 1987, but the practice of service to the community was in place long before then.  In fact, the founding deed of gift for Phillips Exeter Academy in 1781 mentions the importance of goodness and knowledge and establishes the motto of non sibi, not for oneself.  Since ESSO’s inception, the organization has grown in popularity every year with our umbrella now spanning over 80 clubs and projects.  Our goal is to provide Exonians with the opportunity to serve the community, learn from this service, and take this knowledge with them into their future communities.