Nearly fifty UTC students participated in the first UTC Alternative Spring Break (ASB), engaging in activities to benefit residents in Chattanooga and Hamilton County.
“Community engagement inspires students to become more active citizens in solving the major issues of our day such as hunger, homelessness, or supporting our environment. UTC’s Alternative spring break was designed to start conversations between students and local partners, to increase the connection of UTC students and Chattanooga. Through these partnerships, UTC students will have more opportunities to support others in our community,” said Brian A. Peters, Resident Director at UTC. Peters and Carol Oglesby, Coordinator of Student Civic Engagement and Physical Health Education and Promotion, coordinated ASB.
Students had the opportunity to volunteer at several locations, including: The Chattanooga Community Kitchen; Partnership for Families, Children and Adults where they cleaned up the grounds; the Gardner Group Home for Boys on Chamberlain Avenue, where students were needed to landscape, paint and clean items around the house; and at the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy where 20 students planted 300 Swamp White Oak, Sycamore and Willow Oak saplings to re-establish the tree canopy.
Samantha Bartee, a UTC junior, said she helped stock shelves at The Chattanooga Community Kitchen. She learned that someone has to reorganize food there every day. The four hours she and other students logged at the Kitchen allowed staffers to get ahead of schedule.
Bartee also helped clean up at the Gardner Group Home for Boys. She said she enjoyed both experiences.
“I definitely would do it again. It felt a lot more productive than just sitting in your room, watching television,” Bartee said. “It was a good idea to offer students this option. I know how much time students waste!”