Photo and Story by Eric Goodwin / Contributing Writer
Various student organizations and volunteers participated Saturday morning in “The BIG Event,” hosted by the MTSU Student Government Association. The service project involved raising garden beds for elementary schools in the community.
The SGA’s annual event is important because volunteering “plugs (students) into the community” and “builds camaraderie between those students,” according to SGA President Madison Tracy.
“It’s impactful upon the community. We’re going out to all these different various schools to build a community garden for them, and so, not only is it bringing MTSU students together, it’s also creating an impact on the community that will be lasting,” she said.
Before the nine student groups left for their assigned schools, MTSU Men’s Basketball Head Coach Kermit Davis delivered a speech about the importance of serving the community.
“I promise you, within the next few weeks, the kids in our community will remember what you do,” he said. “Thanks so much for what you do for our school,” Davis said.
The groups visited elementary schools in town participating in Murfreesboro City Schools’ “Farm to School” program, which was created to give elementary students hands-on experience in growing their own food.
Murfreesboro City Schools Family and Community Outreach Coordinator Jolene Radnoti said that the Murfreesboro City Schools Office of Coordinated School Health began developing the program once they received a grant for the project. With the grant, City Schools hired a Farm to School educator, Viktoria Einecker.
Greenhouses and garden beds for growing food will be implemented in every Murfreesboro City School.
“We want the kids to see the Farm to School- the growing from how it starts (with) the plant, to the table,” Radnoti said.
Once the food is grown, it will go straight to the cafeterias where the students may eat the food, Radnoti said.
“The kids get to see (the food) from a seed all the way through to actually tasting it.”
The student groups laid the garden beds, spread mulch and prepared items necessary to get the program running. Some groups also helped with family-oriented activities, such as making lima-bean necklaces and apple tosses.
Radnoti said the help MTSU students gave was beneficial because of the sheer amount of manual labor necessary to begin the program.
Radnoti said the intent of the program goes beyond the school and into the household.
“This is a community. We want to teach families the importance of engagement with their children and promoting what they do at the school. This can be implemented at home,” she said.
Bailey-Anna Teague, an interdisciplinary studies major volunteering at Hobgood Elementary with The Point college ministry, said she thinks “that it’s important to give back to the city.”
“I love that we got to come to the elementary school because I think it all starts with the kids. … they’re gonna be our future leaders and the future of our community and society,” Teague said.
DaMarcus Seaberry, a leisure, sports and tourism studies major at MTSU and member of the organization “Collegiate 100,” said he got involved with the projects “to give back to the community.”I like doing things that are bigger than myself,” he said. Seaberry volunteered at the Discovery School at Bellwood with other members of Collegiate 100.
“I like doing things that are bigger than myself,” he said. Seaberry volunteered at the Discovery School at Bellwood with other members of Collegiate 100.
Seaberry volunteered at the Discovery School at Bellwood with other members of Collegiate 100.
“It makes me feel good to do stuff like this,” Seaberry said.
Coordinating the program was Maliyah Bass, a general science major at MTSU and the Philanthropic Coordinator for SGA.
“The goal (of The BIG Event) is to unite the campus and bring them to do philanthropy for the community,” Bass said.
“My favorite quote is, ‘Be the change you wish to see within the world,’ and I feel like you do that through philanthropy and serving others, ” she added.
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