By HANNAH MABRY
TARLETON STATE (March 11, 2018) – On Thursday, March 22, Tarleton State University will dismiss all classes because every student is encouraged to take part in Service Day. Service Day is an annual event in which students sign up for service projects that relate to their major. Instead of having a normal day of classes, students have the opportunity to serve the community.
“Service Day provides opportunities for Tarleton Texans to engage in the community, address a community need, connect knowledge learned in the classroom to the service experience and enhance skills by serving the community,” the Tarleton Service Day website said.
To sign up for a project, students log into their Texan Sync account and choose the service option they want to participate in. These options vary greatly depending on the students’ field of study. Senior Baylee Marshall is an English major, so her project is through the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. She is going to Oakwood Assisted Living and interviewing the residents about their lives. She’s most excited about learning about the residents and spending time with them.
“You never know how many of them don’t get visitors very often, so it’s probably really exciting for them to have someone to talk to, not just about their daily medicines, but actual personal stuff,” Marshall said.
Dr. Misty Smith, assistant professor and Bachelor of Social Work Field Director, is leading a team of 20 social work majors to work with Senior Care residents. The students will be paired with a senior adult and create dough art with them while being intentional about engaging in conversations. Smith said that the students she’s serving with are currently studying about aging in the lifespan.
“I am most excited to see my students’ pre-conceived ideas and perceptions change through the ability to engage and interact in a meaningful way with older adults,” Smith said. “I am also looking forward to seeing the older adult residents’ engage socially and share their wonderful stories with a younger generation. Human connection is vital to our overall well-being.”
Students can also sign up to serve with an on-campus organization. Hispanic Student Organization (HSO) officers are going to speak to Stephenville High School (SHS) students, specifically of Hispanic origin, about resources such as financial aid, Pell Grants, and scholarships, which are available to help them pursue a college degree. The faculty supervisor for this organization, Dr. Cecilia Marrugo-Puello, said that in 2015, some of the HSO members noticed that many Hispanic students never attend college or are not able to complete the coursework due to financial restraints. However, many of these students are eligible for financial aid and scholarships, but they weren’t aware of those resources.
When asked what she was most excited about for this project, Marrugo-Puello responded, “The fact that we can make a difference in someone’s life. When SHS students see HSO officers, they immediately relate to them and are open to listen. As I heard one SHS student say once, ‘they look like us.’ This is a powerful weapon to encourage Hispanic high school students to attend college, since they see that regular young people ‘like them’ are able to achieve higher goals if they are persistent and work hard, in spite of difficulties they might have.”
For more information about Service Day, contact the Center for Transformative Learning at CTL@tarleton.edu or (254) 968-9559.
Tarleton Service Day Website: https://tarleton.edu/calendar/index.html#!view/event/date/20180309/event_id/33343
Interviews: Baylee Marshall, Tarleton senior; Dr. Misty Smith: email@example.com; Dr. Cecilia Marrugo-Puello: firstname.lastname@example.org