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February 2009

Service with a smile

Just call them ambassadors of goodwill.

The Student Alumni Ambassadors, in addition to their duties at various alumni events, have taken the university's motto of service to heart with two recent projects.

In January, a group of four ambassadors — Brittany Atkinson, Amanda Bregel, Mitchell Summers and Stuart Smith — along with Bridgette Dix, assistant director for new graduate and student relations, journeyed to Biloxi, Miss., to do their part to help with Hurricane Katrina relief.

They nailed roofing, put up siding and even dug trenches for electrical work.

“The owner came to the worksite a few times and it was wonderful to see the appreciation in her face,” said Brittany Atkinson. “She's been living in a FEMA trailer all this time. She's so excited to see this finally going up.”

The days were long, but the end result was worthwhile.

“There's something special about giving back to people,” Brittany said. “And the time spent together as a group was a way to really get to know each other better.”

The entire group of Student Alumni Ambassadors worked together in December when they hosted the third annual Branches of Love contest.

The premise: teams of students, faculty and staff join together to decorate artificial trees which are then given to the Salvation Army to be distributed to needy families.

This year, 30 teams decorated trees. Entries ranged from those covered in Spartan navy and gold to those with functional ornaments such as school supplies or kitchen items.

“It's growing into a tradition,” said Carrie Hamrick, SAA president. “It's so nice to celebrate the holiday and do something for others.”

Both Brittany and Carrie said being an SAA has exceeded their expectations. “It's a great opportunity to get an insider view of campus,” Carrie said. For Brittany, getting to know a variety of alumni and hear their stories has been her favorite part.

What's next for this group? Helping out with “Dinner with a Few Good Spartans” in April. Started last year, this event pairs alumni with students for an evening of good food, good fun and positive connections. Look for more information in a future newsletter.



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