Students serve others in the community as part of ‘Nettie Day’

Posted on 13 September 2012 by

Tusculum College students participating in Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day worked to strip, prime and repaint outdoor furniture for use by residents at Greene Valley Developmental Center.

Groups of Tusculum College students, all wearing matching blue shirts, could be seen Thursday morning throughout the area providing volunteer service to a variety of non-profit organizations and agencies.

Thursday was Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day on campus, one of the longest held traditions for the college that involves students spending time in service to others. Participation is required for all new students as part of the Tusculum Experience course, and upperclassmen from such organizations as the Bonner Leader student service organization and the new Alpha Phi Omega service organization also participated.

Students could be found at Greene Valley Developmental Center stripping, priming and painting all the outdoor furniture. At the Greene County Humane Society, students built a bridge for its new walkway, planted bulbs around the walking path, worked to level a picnic table and walked some of the dogs.

Groups of students could be found at the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery cleaning tombstones and learning about the cemetery and its traditions. At Plaza Towers, students cooked breakfast for the residents and organized activities that included bingo and a corn hole competition.

Tusculum College students scrub tombstones in the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery using a non-toxic detergent to remove grime.

Two groups of students went to local churches, First Presbyterian Church, the mother church of the college, and Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Students could be found painting as well as sanitizing all the toys in the nursery, making visitor gift packs and cleaning.

Picking up litter along U.S. Highway 11E, Edens Road and Ripley Island Road was the assignment for one of the classes.

Students also volunteered at Rural Resources, Mustang Alley Horse Rescue, Inc., and the Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center.

Students do some touch-up work to an exhibit at the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library.

The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library and the Doak House Museum on campus were also the beneficiaries of student efforts. Students did some touch-up painting in the exhibit area, cleaned windows and other tasks.

Members of the Bonner Leaders and Alpha Phi Omega had a special project for the day. They worked with Greeneville-Greene County Habitat for Humanity and provided their time helping to clean up the yard area for a local disabled woman.

This year, Nettie Day was the cumulative event of Nettie Week, all coordinated by the Center for Civic Advancement on campus. Nettie Week included the promotion of opportunities for students to get connected to non-profit organizations for which they can volunteer. To mark Sept. 11, a special showing of the film, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” was held in Chalmers Conference Center. Students also had the opportunity to write their reflections of 9/11.

Planting bulbs to landscape around the new walkway was one of the projects for the students who went to the Greene County Humane Society.

In addition to service to others, activities will also have a focus on the U.S. Constitution in celebration of Constitution Day, which is Monday, Sept. 17.

Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, which is conducted under the auspices of the Center for Civic Advancement, honors the memory and altruistic way of life of Nettie Fowler McCormick, widow of reaper inventor Cyrus McCormick, who was a 19th century supporter and advocate of Tusculum College. The McCormicks, staunch Presbyterians from Chicago, learned of Tusculum College through Tusculum graduates who attended their McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and became donors to the Northeast Tennessee school.

Nettie McCormick is recognized as the college’s first Benefactor, a term that denotes a donor whose cumulative gifts total at least $1 million to the college.. Nettie McCormick funded the construction of several of Tusculum’s historic structures, including Haynes Hall, Rankin Hall, Welty-Craig Hall, Virginia Hall and McCormick Hall, which is named after the McCormick family.

Students assigned to First Presbyterian Church had several tasks, including painting just outside the sanctuary.

McCormick Day, now often informally called Nettie Day at the college, began as a day of cleaning the campus in reflection of Nettie McCormick’s insistence on clean living environments. The day has evolved to take on a more generalized community service emphasis.


Students cooked some breakfast treats and spent time with residents at Plaza Towers.

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