Students take service project beyond course requirements

Posted on 20 September 2012 by

Collecting the pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House are these students from the "Theory and Practice of Citizenship" course taught by Dr. Angela Keaton, second from right, assistant professor of commons and history at Tusculum.

A service project for a group of students at Tusculum College has grown into something much more than an assignment for a grade.

Students in the “Theory and Practice of Citizenship” course taught by Dr. Angela Keaton have undertaken a project to collect pop tabs from aluminum cans for the Ronald McDonald House, a drive that will continue long after the end of the class last week.

“They have gone well above and beyond of the requirements of the course,” said Dr. Keaton, assistant professor of commons and history at Tusculum.

The group is asking all those on campus as well as the local community to save the pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House for their collection, which will continue through Dec. 5.  The group includes Allie Hartman, Jama Darnell, Tracy Morris, Bethany Farris, Brooke Sane, Cassi Ricker, Miranda Church and Katrina Holder, all of who are nursing majors.

One group member, Allie Hartman, said she wanted to continue the tab drive because there was not a good reason to end it when the class did. “It takes just a mere second of your day to take off the tab of a soda can,” she said. “Why not turn that second into a lifetime of charity for others? After all, that’s what community is all about.”

With their academic and career interest, one would expect a choice of a medically related non-profit organization for their service project, and they did select the Ronald McDonald House because it serves families of sick, hospitalized children by providing a comfortable place to stay.

Once their choice was made, the group got busy, each member with a different task. They contacted Ronald McDonald House and obtained information about the pop tab collections and other information about the charity.

Ronald McDonald House collects pop tabs rather the collection of aluminum cans because it is more hygienic to store tabs than cans, and collection and storage is easier, according to the non-profit organization’s website. After the tabs are collected, the local Ronald McDonald chapter takes the collection to a recycling center and the funds it receives in return are used for operations of the houses.

Preparing two-liter bottles to collect the tabs at various locations on campus, the group members prepared and posted flyers and posters around campus about the drive. They also prepared a three-sided display board with information and research about Ronald McDonald House as well as about the drive.

While collecting the tabs around campus, the students also set up a table in the Niswonger Commons for two days to further inform the campus community about the project and gave out cupcakes to those who stopped at the table.

The project has grown to involve a teacher at Tusculum View Elementary School, Rebecca Irwin, and her class who are collecting tabs for the project.

Collections of pop tabs can be dropped off at Dr. Keaton’s office, located in room 208 of the Charles Oliver Gray Complex. Individuals can also contact Darnell at or Hartman at for pick-up of tab collections.

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