Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Heritage Day community service awards recognize OU-C students making an impact in their communities

Heritage Day is a homecoming-type event tailored to the Chillicothe Campus.

The third annual community service awards will be presented to students who are making a special impact in their communities when Ohio University-Chillicothe commemorates Heritage Day beginning at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons.

Recipients were nominated by campus members, and final selection was made by a committee comprised of a student, faculty and staff members.

The community service award honorees involve both groups of students and those working individually. Their endeavors are diverse and, collectively, tell the campus’ story of engaging with the region it serves in a compelling manner. These students have displayed a passion for community service and using their time and talents to help others. In many ways, they exemplify the campus’ mission of “paying forward” by helping others while pursuing lives of impact.

Heritage Day is designed to offer a homecoming-style event that is tailored to a regional, commuter campus. It offers an opportunity for former students to visit campus and meet with past classmates and faculty members, as well as for the campus to further engage with the region it serves.

The event is free, and members of the campus and area community are invited to attend. Local musicians Kenny Valentine and Ashley Good will provide entertainment. Refreshments will be served.

In addition to the community service award winners, members of OU-C’s state championship volleyball team will be recognized. The Hilltopper volleyball team recently won the Ohio Regional Campus Conference tournament, defeating Ohio University-Eastern in three straight sets in the title match. Jackie Kellough, a junior from Huntington High School, was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Following are the community service award winners:


Tiffany Graves. Graves, an education major, is already making a difference in the lives of youth. She has assisted with the Literacy Alive! event, which is sponsored by the Kappa Delta Pi education honorary. This event is designed to foster a love of books with area children. A lifetime Girl Scout, she was also a speaker at the Lancaster campus’ “Celebrate Women Conference 2015.”

Casey Oates. This summer, Oates sought to provide a positive opportunity to his fellow community members. By partnering with the Pioneer School, a local organization to aid students with developmental disabilities, he was able to organize and execute an athletic camp for children who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to participate in sports.  “I’ve really wanted to do something like this since I was in high school,” Oates said.  “I’m just trying to give kids an opportunity to do something they’re not used to.”  At his football camp, participants were provided helmets and uniforms, led through a series of stretches and warmups, and invited to participate in an array of football drills. 

Shania Logan and Emily Ross. These two students proved the power of creativity and teamwork in creating a project that energized the campus and benefitted the community. Logan and Ross spearheaded a campus Halloween door-decorating contest, in which winners were chosen by the number of canned good placed in collection boxes. The winning department earned a pizza party donated by Cristy’s Pizza. More importantly, the canned goods were then donated to a local food bank. These two enterprising students showed a great deal of initiative and event-planning skills in taking the project from concept to reality. Further, they have humbly worked behind the scenes in an endeavor that sparked increased collaboration on campus and stronger bonds with the community. As they said, a lesson learned from this effort is that everyone can make a difference, and they certainly exemplify that spirit through their actions.

OU-C Women’s Softball Team. Members of the OU-C women’s softball team sponsored a clinic for students of the Pioneer School for individuals with developmental disabilities. The players took time from their busy schedules on a weekend for this event, which captures the spirit of community service. The campus’ athletics program strives to help our student-athletes develop as students and individuals as well as athletes, and this endeavor puts that concept into action. The participating players demonstrated their ability to put others first and to use their talents to assist others who are not as fortunate. Many of the participating players remarked that the clinic broadened their horizons and helped them develop important skills that will serve the student-athletes in their academic and professional careers as well as their lives in making them more aware of others around them and the importance of reaching out to help others.


Human Services Technology (HST) Club. In continuing a local tradition, HST Club members organized the 10th annual Trick or Treat Extravaganza. Through their leadership, more than 50 current and former HST students, as well as students from a range of academic majors and student groups volunteered at an event in the Shoemaker Center. Approximately $2,500 worth of candy was distributed to area youth at the event, with the items donated by OU-C students as the result of fund-raisers as well as area businesses and social service organizations. Thanks to donations at the door, approximately 180 articles of clothing were donated to the First Presbyterian Church Children’s Food Bank, and 1,571 pounds of canned goods were given to the local Good Samaritan Network food bank.

OU-C Nursing Class. Students in the campus’ bachelor’s degree nursing program hosted a breast cancer awareness event outside of the Stevenson Center this fall. The endeavor included student poster presentations, games, food and prizes. The event provided an enjoyable setting with serious purposes, especially in terms of preparing the students for their nursing careers. This event was meant to involve students in a community activity that promotes public awareness and to help get both students and faculty members involved in an active learning activity. This type of experience helps students develop the ‘soft’ skills they need in their profession, such as people skills and the communication skills that allow them to talk with patients and their family members in layman terms; an extension of the learning that goes on in the classroom.

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