Madison Browder, Features Writer
Samford students were out in full force on Saturday morning as they volunteered throughout the Birmingham community as part of the school’s annual event, Samford Gives Back.
Close to 1,000 students participated in this year’s volunteer event, taking on projects in over 40 areas in need across Birmingham and surrounding areas.
The event was sponsored by the Francis Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership and was themed “Lay A Foundation.”
The day kicked off with words of thanks and encouragement from Mann Center Director Drayton Nabers Jr. and Service Liaison Blake Savage during a pre-event gathering in the Wright Center. Nabers said there was a 45 percent increase in participation in this year’s event.
One of the ministries served by Samford students on Saturday was Cornerstone school, a “Christ-centered school offering high-quality education in the inner-city.” Cornerstone Athletic Director Dedrick Agee also got the chance to address students.
“In addition to the relationships you build with our students, you give them a positive example of what a college student looks like,” Agee said. “Having you on Cornerstone’s campus gives us an opportunity to say this is how you get there in pursuing your dreams.”
One area that saw several groups of students volunteering was The Birmingham Zoo. Jessica MacClugage, a junior nursing student, spent the day clearing tree branches and rocks from the bear exhibit with a group from Alpha Omicron Pi.
“I was excited to get the chance to help out at the zoo, but was unsure what we would be doing. The zookeepers said the work we ended up getting done in four hours would have taken them about a month to totally complete. It felt good to help out an organization that people might not realize could use extra hands.”
Junior exercise science student Kasey Mack participated as part of the Habitat for Humanity cadre. She, along with classmates, helped build a house for a family in need in the Birmingham area.
“I spent most of the day painting things throughout the house. My favorite part was getting to meet the family who would be receiving the house. They spent the entire day with us and were incredibly thankful for the work we were doing. It was really touching and a great reminder of why the work we were doing is important.”
Samford President Andrew Westmoreland announced that one-sixth of the student body participated in the event.
“These are God-ordained jobs for you this morning. Look on this experience as meaningful, substantive involvement. Thank you for volunteering this morning and throughout your life to make a significant difference in the world,” said Westmoreland.