EL PASO, Texas -- Face masks and philosophy.
That might not seem like a combo that naturally fits.
But for members of El Paso Community College's Philosophy Club, breaking expectations comes second nature.
The group's mission is to put philosophy into action, and they have been involved in various community service projects.
The club has provided Christmas gifts for children at shelters, cooked meals for homeless shelters on Thanksgiving and has collectively explored the philosophical implications of racism.
Their most noticeable achievement, however, has scored them recognition with an award from the American Philosophical Association.
It has come during the Covid-19 pandemic as the club sewed over 2,500 reusable face masks for migrant and homeless members of the community, distributing them on both sides of the border.
The club members don't get paid or graded for their service, and the group's president says they're surprised by the award.
"We were shocked. But definitely what we do is help out that community, without chasing any reward," said Jesus Guerra. "It's an honor, but we weren't chasing it."
The EPCC Philosophy Club says in addition to these philanthropic projects, it is also committed to promoting the participation of women and people of color in a field where they've historically been excluded.
"People tend to think of philosophers as white European men - like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. They don't really think of a group of students from the U.S.-Mexico border making a difference," explained Manuela Gomez, an EPCC assistant professor of philosophy and the club’s advisor.
"My students are not just scholars, but they're also activists that go into both sides of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez and try to put philosophy into action, hands on," Gomez added.
For its service in the Borderland, the EPCC Philosophy Club has been named a Community Champion.
Community Champions is sponsored by Albertsons and the El Paso Community Foundation.