Pulling weeds, delivering and serving meals, sorting clothing, cleaning and painting — these are just a few of the tasks employees from the Student Affairs division completed over spring break as part of their annual Day of Service.
“It was a reset button,” said Becky Milam, director of New Student Orientation programs. Milam delivered meals to those in need through Mobile Meals.
“It makes you realize there are people in the community who are elderly or disabled who are unable to leave their home easily, who are living in meager circumstances,” Milam said. “This is often their only meal of the day, and you might be the only person they speak to that week.”
She recounted how meal recipients often wanted to speak to her about their past accomplishments and circumstances. Some said they wished they had pursued higher education in order to make themselves more financially prepared.
“They almost want you to understand that their lives were not always like this,” Milam said. “It was a reminder to me to be appreciative; any of us could be in that position.”
This is the second year that the Student Affairs division has spent a day in service to the community over spring break.
“It’s a good thing to do for those in need, it’s good for the college to be a good community partner and it’s good for team building within Student Affairs,” said Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs. “But most importantly, it’s not just the organization or the person in need that gets help. Volunteer work changes the volunteer.”
Volunteers from Student Affairs worked at the following agencies: the Gentle Barn, CAC Beardsley Community Farm, the Center for Urban Agriculture at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, the Muse Knoxville, Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding, Sunshine Industries-Beta Home, Knoxville Dream Center, Mobile Meals, Knoxville Zoo and Mane Support.