Tusculum College’s first benefactor, Nettie Fowler McCormick would give students’ rooms the “white glove treatment” to check for cleanliness when she visited campus, and students would have passed her test in their efforts Thursday during the community service day named in her honor.
About 370 students were involved in the college’s annual Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, working with nine community organizations, agencies and schools as well as with the Doak House Museum and on campus. All new students, freshmen and transfer students participate in the day’s activities as part of a Tusculum Experience course and upperclassmen volunteer.
Nettie Day, which began in 1913, has evolved to take on a more generalized community service emphasis that supports the College’s mission “to provide a liberal arts education in a Judeo-Christian and civic arts environment,” said Tusculum College President Nancy B. Moody during the Nettie Day Opening Session.
“Today Nettie Day is our introduction to you, our new students, to Tusculum College’s commitment to service.”
Also participating in the opening program were students Estefania Chevez, a senior political science major and Boazin Katina, a senior education major, who are part of the Bonner Leaders service program at the College. Each spoke about service and what it has meant to them over their four years at Tusculum College.
Katina’s work as a student tutor when he was a freshman changed his life’s path and he has now participated in many service projects as a result of the experience, he told the group.
Students worked doing a variety of tasks at the Nathanael Greene Museum, visiting with residents at Plaza Towers apartments, cleaning and helping re-arrange an office at the Child Advocacy Center, walking dogs and other tasks at the Greeneville-Greene County Animal Shelter, planting trees along Frank Creek to prevent erosion for the Middle Nolichucky Watershed Alliance, helping clean the gymnasium and horse barn at Holston United Methodist Home for Children, picking up litter along Highway 11-E, working with clients at the Crumley House Rehabilitation Center and painting the play shelter at Doak Elementary School.
The students’ work was much appreciated by those at the various agencies.
“This is the best group of volunteers we have had,” said Billie Roberts of the Nathanael Greene Museum of the class that worked there. “They did a lot of things that we don’t have the staff to do. We really appreciate them.” This group was very efficient in their tasks, such as cleaning, so much so that they finished before it was time to leave. They then weeded and trimmed in the flowerbeds and landscaping at the building.
Students were also very busy at the Child Advocacy Center as one group cleaned toys with disinfectant wipes, another straightened and cleaned the kitchen and a group of strong young men helped move file cabinets and a desk in the rearrangement of an office.
Deana Hicks, executive director of the center, said the students like to work with children and may not think such things as cleaning toys and rearranging furniture to make much of a difference. “However,” she said, “it has a significant impact because it gives our staff more time to concentrate on our clients and help them rather than spending time straightening the kitchen or rearranging an office. And keeping the toys cleaned and disinfected is a never-ending battle.”
A greater number of community agencies were planned as project sites for students, but involved primarily outdoor work. With the steady rain that was falling on Thursday morning, plans were changed with students redirected to working on campus.
Members of the Housekeeping and Maintenance staff directed the students in such projects as cleaning hallway walls and floors in residence halls, cleaning windows in the Niswonger Commons and cleaning in the Thomas J. Garland Library.
The group of students assigned to the Doak House Museum were working inside and out. Inside a group cut out mouse patterns and pressed gingerbread patterns into paper for children’s educational activities hosted at the museum. Outside, students weeded in the garden, cleaned gutters, trimmed bushes and collected walnuts.
The students on campus were joined in their efforts by a number of staff and faculty members. President Moody encouraged staff and faculty to volunteer to help spruce up the campus. After the rain cleared, they went to work weeding flower beds, trimming bushes and spreading mulch, particularly around McCormick and Virginia halls. Dr. Moody and members of cabinet were part of the staff members who spent their morning helping with the landscaping.