With its enrollment just over a 1,000 students, the community of Maryville College is forced to be close-knit, just like a family. Being a family, it is important to take into account all students organizations, including volunteer programs, individuals and organizations at MC.
In the words of Isaac Anderson, “Do good on the largest scale possible.” That is the mission of all the volunteer organizations at MC. Their foundations are based off of serving others, along with “stretching” each member’s mind.
What people may or may not realize is how well students at the college are exceeding this legacy Isaac Anderson started by the weekly hours put into the Maryville community and outreach towards non-profits, nursing homes and shelters. Preston Fields, director of community engagement, sees community service scholars and volunteers as assets in the local community.
“The Bonner Scholars, along with the Bradford Scholars, Church and College Scholars, Isaac Anderson Fellows and non-scholarship student volunteers, are the college’s most important ambassadors to the wider community,” Fields said. “When people are feeling marginalized and the most vulnerable, there are our students to stand with them in solidarity and in service,” he said.
Fields said he did not want to leave out any community organization that accepts student volunteers. He looks at community organizations as a “larger team” to help make a difference in the Blount County area and beyond. MC volunteers are everywhere, and community service hours range from 1,000 to 2,000 hours per week. A senior writing/communications major and Bonner scholar at Maryville College, Taylor Wilson, said that he has volunteered at several organizations, such as Wellington Nursing Home, Haven House and Fine Arts Blount. Community service also presents an opportunity for personal growth.
“I find volunteer work to be wholesome and rewarding,” Wilson said. “[Volunteering] is healthy for the soul,” he said. “We’re constantly working to try and better ourselves or our family, whether it be education or a job for money, so why not work a bit for others? There’s a beauty in selflessness, for both parties. Altruism really needs to take a forefront in our lives.”
All people can volunteer, not just Bonner or other MC service scholars. Working together as a team by administering simple acts of kindness, such as volunteering, does more than provide a scholarship. Small actions, like helping in one’s community, are added together to become bigger actions and then, together, more than just minds can be stretched.