What does it mean to “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Bald”? Just ask the residents of Kennedy Hall, a sophomore co-ed residence hall with 200 students, who last week raised more than $2,500 for Camp No Worries, through a “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Bald” initiative. Camp No Worries is a week-long summer camp for pediatric cancer patients in New Jersey. In order to raise the money, 11 Kennedy residents pledged to shave their heads if a predetermined amount of money–the students’ goal was $2,000–was raised in the two weeks prior to the event on Oct. 10.
The Kennedy Hall staff chose to host the fundraiser to fulfill a programming requirement for University theme “Through the Eyes of Others.” Earlier in the year the staff decided that children’s cancer was a cause that mattered to each of them, and they wanted to do something to benefit these pediatric patients.
At the event last Thursday night, Belmont nursing students and cancer survivors Natalie Seale and Katherine Arnold each spoke about their own battles against the disease. Arnold said, “My experience with the nurses at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, many of them Belmont grads, definitely influenced my decision to become a nursing major and coming to Belmont. The whole community over there became like a second family.”
Forsaken by her prostitute mother and alcoholic father, Oksana Nelson became an orphan at age seven. Although she no longer had to steal food or spend nights on the street, she recalled the orphanage as a “difficult and challenging place.” There she shared one toilet, one sink, one bar of soap and one toothbrush with more than two dozen other children.
“Many other orphans who aged out of the system at 16 turned to drugs and prostitution to survive,” said Nelson, a spokeswoman for Operation Christmas Child, who shared her story during chapel in early October to kick off a University-wide service project. “We saw that and thought it was the path for our lives. You see, we were taught that we were the bottom of society and that we would never amount to anything. You were an orphan because you were an inconvenience, a nuisance; you were just in the way and not supposed to happen.”
At age nine, missionaries came to her orphanage, played games with the children and shared the Gospel. (more…)
Current Alabama A&M vice president to lead student affairs division
Following an extensive nationwide search, Belmont University announced today that Dr. Jeffery Burgin, current vice president for student affairs at Alabama A&M University, is being named associate provost and dean of students, effective Dec 1.
In his new position at Belmont, Burgin will serve as the chief student affairs officer for the University, exercising broad oversight of the University’s student affairs programs and operations. He will be responsible for fostering the building of community among students and between student groups while empowering the staff and students in the Division of Student Affairs to be effective educators and leaders for student success.
Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “Dr. Burgin is a student-centered leader with a history of fostering a positive, engaging, supportive student environment on the campuses he has served. We are extremely excited to welcome such a successful leader to the Belmont community.”
Burgin noted, “I am deeply indebted to Alabama A & M University for the opportunities provided to me and my family. I am ecstatic about new opportunities at Belmont University and working with Dr. Burns. The warmth from students, faculty, staff and administration I felt during my visit was a selling point for me. I look forward to many collaborative efforts as we assist in the academic and social development of our students. I would also like to commend Dr. Becky Spurlock and the student affairs staff for the excellent work they have done during this transitional period. I know there will be many future successes.”
During their first Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition in Sewanee, Tenn., the Belmont Equestrian Club faced well-established university teams from Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas and returned to campus with seven ribbons, including one first place.
Sophomore Sarah Allison Harpole earned first place in Beginner Walk Trot Canter, and every team member competing placed in each of her classes.
“It’s been an incredible experience. The girls are fantastic. We really are a team and that showed well at the competition this past weekend. We all pitched in and helped each other,” said Harpole, who is from Paducah, Ky.
Together with six other Belmont students, Harpole practices for three hours each Saturday 30 minutes south of campus at Hunters Court Stables under the direction of Assistant Trainer Amy Rippel.
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.
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.”