The Making of “Get Up and Serve”

The Miss America organization helped me to truly appreciate service but it wasn’t always my platform.

Initially, I had a different platform issue. I went from school to school presenting on my issue…but it just stopped resonating with me. I felt like I would give the same presentation over and over and constantly try to improve my platform but, at the end of the day, I felt like I was stuck inside a cramped box of complacency. It was like trying to sell cookies and marketing them as a 10 while knowing they only tasted like a 4.

Eventually, I sat down with my close friends and Miss Greater Salt Lake family and we discussed what makes me passionate. I realized that what truly made me happy was developing human connections through service.

Jesse Craig platform
Me and my friends from the University of Utah at a service project.

Those moments where you connect with a human being and where you can change lives through service are the ones that mean so much to me.

Moments like visiting a retirement home for the elderly, playing music, and being approached at the end by a kind man telling me that the music reminded him of his late wife, a violinist, who had recently passed, are experiences I will never forget.

Jesse Craig platform
Me and my friends at the University of Utah hosting Kindness Week.

Once I made that realization, I decided to create a service initiative that specifically targets young adults. I chose to focus on my age group because, most of the time, we are all focused on test scores, rent payments, and dating; service is usually pushed to the backburner because we’re just entering adulthood and trying to adjust to our new situations instead of focusing on others and their needs. Knowing how service positively affected my life and helped provide it with more depth and meaning, I wanted my peers to experience that same change despite trying to find time to even breathe during this crazy time in our lives!

“Get Up and Serve” breaks down into three areas:

1. Promote

My platform’s first point is helping young adults (and people of all ages) become aware of the service projects around them by presenting the different opportunities to them. Visiting National Honor Society groups, promoting service opportunities as the Bennion Center’s Campus Community Outreach Liaison, and sharing different local opportunities online is the best way to promote involvement.

Jesse Craig platform
Me and my friends from the Union Programming Council at the University of Utah hosting a bowling fundraiser.

2. Participate

Serving with your peers! This is my favorite part of my platform. I’ve loved coordinating with high school groups and visiting retirement homes with them. Promoting statewide food insecurity awareness initiatives with my friends and taking on hunger was a favorite experience of mine and serving as a Director of Community Service for the University of Utah last year was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Putting on events with my board such as Family Frightfest, Kindness Week, and a community service competition with seventy of my friends was a blast. It was cool to watch college students become excited about service and to see the different relationships they formed as a result. My board and I became so close in the process and now they’re some of my favorite people.

Jesse Craig platform
Me and members of my Community Service Board at my Miss America Sendoff.

3. Perpetuate

Helping people to find a cause that they truly love is the best way to perpetuate service. For me, little kids are my “why.” Playing “Uno Attack,” making different creations with playdough, or having my little friend Curtis always greet me by informing me that his name is Curtis and he is four, are memories that make me truly happy. Helping people find their “why” with service means helping them find their joy and it creates a perpetual cycle of service.

Jesse Craig platform
Me and students of Noah Webster Academy making blankets for Primary Children’s Hospital patients.

Right now, I’m enjoying serving as Miss Utah and organizing #missutahserves projects each month or a few times a month. I’m working with organizations such as UServeUtah to make Utah’s Week of Service and other projects happen in the near future. If you are looking for ways to become involved, follow my page,, UServeUtah, and more to get involved!