On Tuesday, March 31, student organizations from across campus met on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole library for JSU’s Second Annual Service Showcase. Sponsored by the University Service Committee, the Service Showcase is an opportunity for campus organizations to present their completed service projects for the academic year.
This year JSU’s Social Work Club, Geography Club, football team and nursing program were represented at the showcase. The Geography Club received the Presidential Community Service Award for outstanding achievements in community service, and the nursing program walked away with the Presidential Service Learning Award.
The Geography Club joined with Cheaha State Park to build a foot trail to the highest point in Alabama. From September to January, members used hand tools to carve a half-mile long Leave No Trace environmental stewardship trail.
“This is a trail that encourages people to look deeper, to think twice,” explained Mandy Pearson, an alumna of JSU and current Master’s student who is employed by Cheaha. “[It emphasizes things like] don’t throw your trash anywhere you want to. If you make a fire, put it out.”
The trail, which was not expected to open until Fall 2016, will open this fall thanks to the hard work of the Geography Club.
“It’s important that a community be able to enjoy its environment to the fullest,” said Barbara Edwards, a senior Geography major and Geography Club member, “and spending the time trail-building over the last semester has made me much more ready to graduate and continue to build up the connections between the people and the environment.”
The nursing program spent this year partnering with WordAlive church to bring free medical care to people in the Estaboga area.
Josefina Munoz was one of JSU’s students to participate. “[Besides medical care] we also went in just basically listened to them, listened to their stories. We were there also for emotional support. It’s not just us [being] nurses; we were there on their level.”
“They’ve never had medical assistance,” added Kaitlyn Donaldson, another nursing student, “and they were so open with us so we could get the information
we needed to help them.”
This is the first year that the nursing program has visited Seven Springs Ministries, but it is something the program hopes to continue to do for many semesters to come, including summer sessions if possible. Students visited the church on a clinical rotation, with a different group of students going each week and picking up where the previous group left off.
Nurses treated a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, substance abuse and diabetes care.
Even the football team found a way to give back. By partnering with WordAlive church and Project 58, members of the JSU football team helped pack 100,000 meals to be sent to underprivileged families in Honduras. The full video can be found on YouTube under the title “Jacksonville State Football Helps Fight Hunger With Project 58.”
JSU’s Social Work Club had a busy year as well. The club participated in 11 service events, totaling 56 hours of volunteerism. Members participated in a coat drive where they collected 105 coats, a food drive where they collected over 650 pounds of food, and the Boys & Girls Club’s Angel Tree where they sponsored 27 children.
“When you hear ‘project,’ you think that you have to [do it], like it’s for a grade,” Khyana Dean, a member of the Social Work Club, said of service projects, “but it’s kind of our job and our duty to bring awareness to a lot of different things.”