Nettie Day provides additional opportunities for Tusculum family to demonstrate commitment to civic engagement

GREENEVILLE – Civic engagement is a major component of a Tusculum University education, and students, faculty and staff demonstrated its importance during the annual Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, held Friday, Sept. 17.

Students paint at Doak Elementary School.

Tusculum family members use Nettie Day to complete a number of projects that benefit the university and the community. The 2021 version took place mostly on campus as a protective measure due to the global coronavirus pandemic, but students, faculty and staff performed work at some nearby locations.

“As our students prepare to be career-ready professionals, they learn at Tusculum that proficiency in an academic subject must be accompanied by a commitment to civic engagement and community service,” said Dr. Scott Hummel, the university’s president. “Our new students learn about this important element of our mission early in their studies with us, and we reinforce it throughout their years at Tusculum so they can be contributing members to the betterment of society for the rest of their lives. Our commitment to civic engagement produces better citizens.”

Tusculum received assistance to make Nettie Day happen. AmeriCorps, a national organization, funded Nettie Day this year with a $58,247 grant, which helped provide equipment needed to finish the projects. This is a 9/11 Day of Service grant, and one of the requirements is that Tusculum complete some projects that support veterans.

Community organizations that benefited from the students’ work were Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Johnson City, Isaiah 117 House in Greene County, the Greene County Humane Society and Second Harvest Food Bank in Blountville. The Tusculum family made blankets for chemotherapy and dialysis patients at the VA, jump ropes for Isaiah House, dog toys and treats for the Humane Society and 2,500 food packages for Second Harvest. Students also made bags with encouraging messages to hold the blankets.

Students make a blanket for Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Students make a jump rope during Nettie Day.

Opportunity House and U-Turn for Christ thrift stores contributed to the event’s success by donating all of the T-shirts that were used to make the jump ropes.

Off campus, students, faculty and staff headed to Doak Elementary School and Tusculum City Park, where they painted and cleaned.

Tusculum family members also tackled several projects that will enhance the look and operations at the university. These included tee boxes for the disc golf course on campus, landscaping at the Welcome Center, installation of a foot bridge for a new walking trail and painting at the Doak House Museum.

Tusculum family members plant a tree at the Doak House Museum.

Students work on a foot bridge near the Doak House Museum.

Students, faculty and staff planted several trees at the Doak House in honor of a tree that survived at Ground Zero in New York.

“Nettie Day is the culmination of a lot of preparation by many students, faculty and staff,” said Amanda Delbridge, assistant director of Tusculum’s Center for Civic Advancement. “The benefit of Nettie Day is in the valuable lessons about service that it teaches our students and the enhancement to our region’s quality of life. We are proud to keep this longstanding tradition alive at Tusculum.”

Avonlea Knode, a graduate assistant for the CCA and coordinator of the Bonner Leader Program, a service organization on campus, helped plan the event and enjoyed the experience.

“I don’t think I beamed so much with joy or pride as I did watching this unfold,” said Knode, who is pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Tusculum. “None of this would have happened without the cooperation and consideration of others. For me, that is great because I love volunteering. I have been doing it since I was younger.”

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