Currently Browsing: Social Entrepreneurship and Service-Learning

Students ‘Cultivate’ Produce for Belmont Community

cultivate garden -0103-LWhen Associate Dean for Performance Studies Jeff Kirk left campus Thursday afternoon, he drove by Compton Avenue where students handed him a crate of spinach, squash and lettuce, which his wife used to make lettuce wraps for dinner.

“I am sure happy I did. I am happy to know we can get fresh, organic vegetables once a week, and the price is much cheaper than the grocery store,” Kirk said. “This is another way Belmont is taking care of us and the community as well.”

This summer junior Brett Wisse and senior Johnathan West revived Belmont’s garden through Enactus, an organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Wisse and West have invested $2,000 building eight raised beds and an aqua pond to start new crops in the garden, which they have named Cultivate.

Although the garden has been on Belmont’s campus for several years, it hasn’t consistently produced a harvest as students graduate and leave campus for the summer. The garden was born in 2008 when Chemistry Professor Kimberlee Daus’ honors analytics class did chemistry tests on soil in a vacant lot and researched what types of plants would grow there. A first-year seminar class built rock beds and did initial planting in 2009. Two years later, the University formed a partnership with the Dismas House, and students in Adjunct Instructor Charmion Gustke’s first-year service learning and English 1010 classes used their harvests to supplement the meals of former prisoners transitioning back into society. (more…)

Belmont Continues ‘Read with Me’ Tradition with Family Literacy Day

FamilyLiteracyDay-034-LSome 145 Belmont students read to Nashville children during the 14th Annual Family Literacy Day on April 12 at Rose Park. The event was designed to allow the Belmont community to partner with Nashvillians to encourage reading and literacy among elementary-age children and their families.

“It is a great privilege for Belmont to celebrate the great work that goes on all year long by joining with Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Nashville Public Library, Metro Parks, Book’em, PENCIL Foundation and Homework Hotline to provide Family Literacy Day to the community,” said Belmont Director of Service-Learning Tim Stewart. “We are grateful for the opportunities the community provides our students and view Family Literacy Day as a small but hopefully significant way to say ‘thank you.’”

During the free celebration on reading, children enjoyed interactive story times, crafts, face painting, games and refreshments. In reading circles, hosted by Belmont student organizations such as the foreign language majors, the children listened to students read aloud and earned stickers to trade in for prizes and books donated by Book’em.

In the weeks prior to the event, first through fourth-grade studenFamilyLiteracyDay-017-Lts were invited to submit 12 to 16-line poems about their favorite literature. From 118 entries, the Belmont English Club selected five finalists, and the top five poets worked with local professional songwriters Seth Alley, Sherrié Austin, Maddie Larkin, Bill McDermott and Will Rambeaux to set their poems to music. More than 5,000 votes were cast online in the poetry contest, and the winner was “The Girl Who Thinks She Can” by Arieanna Rushing, a fourth-grade student at Sylvan Park Elementary. Click here to listen to the winning song and the other finalists.

Belmont University Celebrates MLK Day with Two Weeks of Special Events

MLK candle

Staff, faculty and students gather during the MLK Candlelight Vigil around the Bell Tower.

Belmont, TSU, Trevecca students join together for MLK Day of Service on Jan. 18

 In celebration of the Jan. 15 anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth date, Belmont University will hold two weeks of special events. The University’s theme for 2014 is “Postracial: The Problem of the Color Line in the 21st Century.” The University’s commitment to Martin Luther King Jr. Week through classroom and special events began in 1997 and continues to grow today. New this year are showings of documentaries  related to Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

“In recent years, there has been a great deal of talk about whether or not we live in a so-called ‘post-racial’ society. In order to explore more fully this controversial idea, the committee this year thought it best to look to the past for inspiration. In that spirit, we chose as our theme, ‘Postracial: The Problem of the Color Line in the 21st Century,’ an homage to W.E.B. DuBois’ famous pronouncement, written well over a century ago, that ‘the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line,’” said Peter Kuryla, assistant professor of history and chairman of Belmont’s 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee. “So recalling DuBois and in keeping with Dr. King’s prophetic social vision, we’ve put together programming that addresses this issue of the color line from a variety of perspectives. We look forward to a campus-wide conversation.” (more…)

Belmont Celebrates Annual Humanities Symposium Sept. 22-30

Humanities_Symposium_Logo_13Students ‘encounter others’ through panel discussions, writing workshops, lectures, service

 Belmont University hosts its 12th annual Humanities Symposium next week, featuring authors, poets, researchers, philosophers and professors from across the country.

Centered on the theme “Encountering Otherness,” the Belmont 2013 Humanities Symposium will occur Sept. 22 through 30 and parallels the 2013-14 University theme of “Through the Eyes of Others.” The Humanities Symposium seeks to stimulate intellectual conversation through its 31 events, which together will engage in a week-long conversation designed to increase interactions with different cultures, religions, political views and historical understandings to dislodge the default view and open students to broader understanding.

“We have scheduled what might be the most diverse group of speakers we’ve ever had for the 2013 Humanities Symposium, so we are very excited to share the work of our presenters with the Belmont community. We are proud of the fact that we have developed such a wide variety of events as well,” said Associate Professor of English Cynthia Cox, who is chairing the symposium. “In addition to many panels and lectures, this year’s symposium offers two writing workshops, an art exhibit showcasing the paintings of Belmont staff member Tam Mai, a Teaching Center luncheon, an open discussion of relevant philosophical questions, and a day of community service projects coordinated by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Service Learning.”

Among the notable events are a 90-minute poetry reading by CantoMundo Fellow Eduardo C. Corral, a session on using networking opportunities to learn with Peabody College’s Dr. Kevin Leander, a lecture on race by Duquesne University’s Dr. George Yancy, a lecture on  using empathy to understand others with Ohio State University’s Dr. Amy Shuman, a talk about Native American history and spirituality with University of Denver Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research Office Director CeCe Big Crow and a discussion on illegal immigration with Vanderbilt University’s Dr. Robert Barsky. All events are free and open to the public. For more information and to view the full program of events, visit www.belmont.edu/cas/humanities_symposium.

This year the Humanities Symposium also includes six community service projects across Nashville for approximately 120 Belmont students, faculty and staff to practice the theme of encountering otherness from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 28. Opportunities include working at building fences for outdoor dogs through Music City Hounds Unbound, creating crafts and playing board games with senior citizens at Morningside of Belmont Assisted Living and gardening with homeless women at the Women’s Center of Nashville Rescue Mission.

Incoming Belmont Students Volunteer in Annual SERVE Project

Belmont freshman Fia Binford, of Hudson, Ohio, plays with Baby, a 2-year-old pit bull.

Belmont freshman Fia Binford, of Hudson, Ohio, plays with Baby, a 2-year-old pit bull.

Following an inspirational message from State Rep. Brenda Gilmore and charge to serve their new hometown from Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, Belmont’s Class of 2017 along with new graduate and transfer students volunteered throughout Nashville through the University’s annual SERVE Project on Monday afternoon.

“There’s a lot of work to be done in our community,” Fisher said. “I am grateful for a city like Nashville that gives us so many opportunities to serve,” Fisher told the 1,800 students before they departed campus for several Metro Beautification sites, five Metro Nashville Public Schools and 16 non-profit organizations, including the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm and Bridges for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

An annual “Welcome Week” tradition for more than a decade, SERVE provides a perfect tie-in to Belmont’s ongoing commitment to engage students in their community and encourage the values of service on both a local and global level.

At a West Nashville home, 50 Belmont students helped nonprofit organization Music City Hounds Unbound install a fence for Baby, a 2-year-old pit bull, who has lived most of his life chained to a tree.

“The big thing about service is it is all about love. You don’t really know who needs to be shown love, but when you think about it, everyone needs love,” said Fia Binford, a freshman from Hudson, Ohio, while petting the dog.

Music City Hounds Unbound Director Amy Brown said, “It’s difficult to find a large group of volunteers especially that are capable of putting a fence up. (SERVE) enhances the volunteer experience because they get to see Baby get off the chain. It usually takes our group several weekends to complete a fence project.”

The new classmates also covered the mostly dirt back yard with hay, assembled an insulated dog house and shared toys and treats with Baby, providing a project and services worth $3,000 to the dog’s owner, Brown said.

Incoming Belmont students install a fence in a West Nashville backyard as part of the University’s annual SERVE Project.

Incoming Belmont students install a fence in a West Nashville backyard as part of the University’s annual SERVE Project.

Sophomore Neal Buckley, a Towering Traditions orientation leader, added, “This is all about team work and making new friends. This project is all about working together and requires communicating and connecting. It’s great for freshmen to let the community know that Belmont is here for them. We are here to learn and grow but also here to serve others.”

At other sites across the city, the new students packed food, toiletries and cleaning supplies for needy families, cleaned facilities, removed graffiti, painted walls and gardened vegetables, among other community service projects.

“SERVE Day is a very important day for Belmont and our students.  It sets the tone for our new students because it helps them know that being a part of Belmont means to serve,” said Director of Service-Learning Tim Stewart. “In addition to learning about places in the community where they can volunteer, many of the students will see these agencies again as they engage in service-learning courses during their time at Belmont.”

« Previous Entries