Students package snacks for children at ‘Freshman Day of Service’ event


MTSU students package snacks for children enrolled in Rutherford County Schools at the "Freshman Day of Service" on Friday, September 13, 2013. The event was organized by United Way, MTSU's Student Government Association, and the university's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. (MTSU Sidelines / John Connor Coulston)

By John Connor Coulston // Staff Writer

The Freshman of MTSU had the chance to give back to the Rutherford County community at the “Freshman Day of Service,” which was held on Friday.

The event, which was a collaboration between United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, MTSU’s Student Government Association and the university’s Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, saw students assemble bags of snacks for children in the Rutherford County School System.

The packages included granola bars, either fruit or crackers, a drink and a note of encouragement written by each student. The goal was to reach 2,017 bags of snacks, to coincide with the projected year the freshmen will graduate from MTSU.

“It’s an amazing time for freshmen to get involved in not only the university, but the community as well,” SGA President James Lee told Sidelines.

MTSU freshman Michael Patton writes encouraging notes to accompany packaged snacks for children enrolled in Rutherford County Schools at the "Freshman Day of Service" on Friday, September 13, 2013. The event was organized by United Way, MTSU's Student Government Association, and the university's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. (MTSU Sidelines / John Connor Coulston)
MTSU freshman Michael Patton writes encouraging notes to accompany packaged snacks for children enrolled in Rutherford County Schools at the “Freshman Day of Service” on Friday, September 13, 2013. (MTSU Sidelines / John Connor Coulston)

The project was a part of United Way’s “Hometown Huddle” initiative, which also included after-school programs and refurbishing local playgrounds.

“Children have to be equipped with all the resources they need to be successful in school, and such a huge part of that is their healthy lifestyles and their nutrition,” said CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties Meagan Flippin.

The freshman who took part in the event walked away with a feeling of selflessness and satisfaction.

“I really enjoyed being able to help out,” freshman Chrissy Webster said. “It was a great idea. The special notes were such a nice touch and I loved writing them.”

“Helping others is always a great feeling,” added Michael Patton, another contributing freshman.

The “Freshman Day of Service” concluded with more than 2,500 bags of snack prepared, exceeding the initial goal by more than 500 bags.

Philanthropic Coordinator Hannah Lee was enthused by the freshmen’s willingness to help with the cause. “We’re really excited about [the freshmen] joining the MTSU family,” Lee said. “They’re definitely here to be True Blue.”

Follow John Connor Coulston on Twitter at @JCCoulston.

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