Thursday, 03 September 2015 06:58

College contributes to southeast region with 50 acts

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A post-secondary institution’s primary role is to provide an education to students in a specified field, but college life is also about personal growth.

As part of celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Medicine Hat College community is demonstrating what philanthropy is all about showing it not only contributes to Medicine Hat, but the southeast Alberta region.
Using a slight twist on acts of kindness, college officials are stating they will complete 50 acts of kindness or good deeds from now until June 30, 2016 with the “50 Acts of College” campaign.
Colleen Graham, marketing and communications co-ordinator, noted the idea is to get the academic institution involved in the city and the southeast region as a whole. She emphasizes they want to get out into the entire area.
“It’s all about community engagement and to show that we care about the community,” Graham added.
The first act was to support the United Way’s Tools for School campaign, which in this case was 50 backpacks loaded with school supplies just in time for the new school year.
Volunteer students donated their time to stuff the backpacks full of school supplies which were donated by the college staff.
Backpacks had coiled binders, leather portfolios, paper, pens, erasers and some college supplies too.
The backpack idea along with some of the other 50 acts have been discussed by staff at 50th anniversary brainstorming meetings. The initial idea was to get going with events around Sept. 1.
College staff were told about the event last week with the stipulation that staff members, including college faculty members, were to be the sole contributors to this event which was happening in about a week’s time.
They came through in spades as event organizers received enough contributions to stuff 50 backpacks.
Graham was thrilled with, not only the volunteer effort, but the efforts of the staff.
“I’m hugely pleased,” said Graham shortly following the last of the backpacks being moved out of the assembly line area. “The true heroes are the staff and faculty who donated all of the cash and the supplies.”
Jennifer Fleckenstein, student recruiter and one of the organizers of the backpack event, agreed it came together relatively quickly.
“I felt so proud. It was sprung on us Wednesday (Aug. 19) and the college community came together,” explained Fleckenstein. She added local members of Community Encounters and Campus Life helped a lot in the United Way’s Tools for School campaign.
Students were needed to help stuff the backpacks full of supplies and the vast majority of new student orientation volunteers came out to help. Within 15 minutes, all 50 backpacks were filled with supplies. The students were smartly organized at different stations and in modified assembly style.
“I was worried at first,” said Fleckenstein. “The official launch to the staff was on College Day (Aug. 19) and it was slow in coming in. However, stuff really started pouring in (Aug. 24), there were big donations of supplies, and money donations.”
Student Breanna Cook was one of the students involved it helping fill the new backpacks. She says it was a real whirlwind of activity, but was extremely impressed with her peers and the college’s staff and instructors.
“I was proud to be a part of that,” explains Cook who is also part of the student orientation team. “It was amazing how it went. It was such a smooth process.
“It was a really good team-building experience too — such a great time.”
Cook adds it’s impressive and heartening to be part of a college which wants to contribute to the city and region in a big way.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor