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Students volunteer for ‘Freshman Day of Service’ a...

Students volunteer for ‘Freshman Day of Service’ at nonprofits

MTSU volunteers sort and package food for Murfreesboro’s Greenhouse Ministries during the 2012 Freshman Day of Service across the city Sept. 14. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

About 200 MTSU freshmen volunteered their time, talents and muscle Friday to help area nonprofits serve the community.

The MTSU Student Government Association and the Office of Leadership and Service, in partnership with United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, held the second Freshman Day of Service.

Students were dispatched across the community to several nonprofits, where they prepared meals, cleaned, painted, stocked food pantries and whatever else was needed.

MTSU freshman Rachel Morris, a nursing major, was among the students who helped at Greenhouse Ministries on Spring Street, sorting food supplies and assisting residents in gathering their allotted supply.

“It’s a good experience to come out and help people,” Morris said. “It puts you in somebody else’s shoes. You have a different perspective.”

The MTSU students joined employee volunteers from Best Buy, which is one of several area companies that provide a truckload of food several times a year for Greenhouse to distribute to those in need.

“There’s no way this could be done without a lot of people,” said Cliff Sharp, director of Greenhouse Ministries, noting that it normally takes 70 to 80 volunteers to properly staff a food drive like Friday’s. “They are very definitely needed.”

“It’s always great to give back,” said MTSU student Britney Allison, a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. “You should want to give back to the community … and it doesn’t always have to be seasonal. It can be anytime.”

MTSU freshmen Chelsey Baker, left, and Emily Bleuze sort paperwork to help out at Murfreesboro’s Greenhouse Ministries during the Freshman Day of Service.

Jackie Victory, director of the MTSU Office of Leadership and Service, said they’re “excited to see our students become engaged in the life of the Murfreesboro community through service.”

“More than anything else, we want our students to find a connection to MTSU through activities that compliment their field of study,” Victory continued.

“By being engaged in MTSU’s programs, they are able to make friends and learn new things that ultimately will cause them to be more successful in the classroom.”

The purpose of the office is to complement traditional academic programs by providing leadership development, service experiences, and exposure to and participation in social, cultural, intellectual and recreational activities.

The purpose of the Office of Leadership and Service is to complement traditional academic programs by providing leadership development, service experiences and exposure to and participation in social, cultural, intellectual and recreational activities.

MTSU freshman Rachel Morris, left, helps Irma Goodman load supplies into her vehicle during the Freshman Day of Service project at Greenhouse Ministries.

“United Way is excited to be able to partner with MTSU on one of its three key engagement strategies — volunteering,” said Meagan Flippin, senior director of marketing at United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties.

“We value the ability to make an impact and MTSU sets a high standard for investing time and resources into its surrounding community.”

United Way solicits volunteer project needs from its partner agencies, then coordinates with MTSU to determine which projects will be offered to students. Locations vary from year to year depending on agency needs, Flippin said.

The students also assisted at Journeys in Community Living, Mitchell-Neilson Elementary School, Project HELP at MTSU, Discovery Center at Murfree Spring and The Salvation Army.

— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)


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