I first began this article series last semester as part of my Bonner Senior Intern project. The overarching goal for the Bonner leadership team this year was to encourage a greater service culture on campus. What we quickly realized is that there are definitely students all across campus, from various clubs, organizations, and athletic teams who are doing service. Last year, Maryville College clocked over 2,000 recorded service hours campus wide. Because not everyone logs the service they do, it is estimated that number is actually a lot higher.
So, it seemed the issue was not that students weren’t serving. In fact, the majority of students were. The problem was that it seemed like their service wasn’t being recognized. There were students doing incredible things in the community every day that no one inside or outside the campus would ever know about.
As a writing/communications major, I immediately turned to media as a method of reinforcing MC’s already very prevalent service culture and started publishing these articles in The Highland Echo. I can honestly say it has been an inspiring experience. Through these articles, I got to learn about the needs of a Title 1 schools like Lanier Elementary; I got to watch a brand new program like The Food Recovery Network emerge from the dedication of a single young man; I got to write about The Safe Haven law and a young mother’s mission to educate young women about their options while pregnant. These are just a few of the stories I had the privilege to tell.
I am so honored to have had the opportunity to get to know these wonderful students and promote the amazing things they are doing and will continue to do. If there is one thing I would like for the readers of The Highland Echo to have taken away from my articles, it is that MC is an amazing place full of brilliant, passionate people, and it does not take an army to make change.
In all of my articles I only interviewed one person: the student. In almost all cases, it was the students themselves who were spearheading the projects or running the programs. Each of them brought up a mentor or supervisor, but at the end of the day they were the ones whose hard work made an impact. It was their countless hours of planning, speaking, advertising and teaching that made things work.
Though they may have been small contributions, I hope my articles inspired other students to get involved in the community. I hope it taught some people to see the value in nonprofit internships and leadership. I hope it allowed those who were interviewed to take pride in their accomplishments. Most of all, I hope that my line of work continues to allow me to meet amazing people like the students at MC.
I’d like to take some paper space to thank The Highland Echo staff for giving me the space to publish these articles, especially Evy Linkous for being a super fantastic editor and Ariana Hansen for helping me out with photographs. I’d also like to thank everyone who took the time to speak with me for interviews, as well as Amy Gilliland and Zane Dukes for being supportive and offering suggestions for article ideas. This experience would not have been possible without you all.