By Andy Powell
For the Mountain Advocate
Union College has established a campus chapter of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) that will lend student hands to help families of the local community.
The project, entitled College Service Project, is the culmination of a partnership between the ASP of Johnson City, Tenn., and Union College. The endeavor, which was formally announced during an event on Jan. 21, will lend year round assistance to local families in need of home repairs.
“I am extremely proud of the partnerships we’ve built with our students, our community and our region,” said Union President Marcia Hawkins, Ph.D. Hawkins sits on the board of the ASP and helped to foster this initiative. “Today, we celebrate another partnership, one that began 40 years ago, here on this campus, with a two week long outreach program to make people’s homes safe, warm and dry.”
Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans founded ASP in Barbourville in 1969. In its first year of service, ASP fixed four homes with the help of 50 volunteers. Last year, the organization repaired 650 homes with the help of 17,000 volunteers in the 32 communities its serves throughout Appalachia, said Walter Crouch, CEO of ASP.
“The relationship between Union College and Appalachia Service Project is historic,” said Crouch. “Without Union College’s early support, ASP would not exist.”
Crouch added that it is fitting that Union College be one of the first institutions to develop a student group to serve the community through the College Service Project. Other campus chapters of the Appalachian Service Project have been established at University of Wisconsin, Madison; Wilmington; Virginia Tech and Appalachian State University.
The ASP College Service Project will be a student led program focused on home rehabilitation projects in hopes of making those homes, warmer, safer and drier for the families that live there. The program will be a partnership between the college, ASP, Kentucky Communities Economic Opportunity Council (KCEOC) and Lend-A-Hand. It will continue collaborative efforts began in the campus community through programs such as Repair Affair. But, unlike Repair Affair, which initiates projects for just one day a year, College Service Project at Union College will allow students to manage repair projects throughout the year. The project will be managed through the Common Partners program on campus, a program that manages various other service-oriented projects for students.
“We are very fortunate to have programs here with such strong roots and to have students so interested in what it means to serve their community,” said Jodi Carroll, Director of the Common Partners and College Service Project initiatives.
Carroll said the College Service Project would further engage students in learning as they serve, allowing them to manage all facets of each project from start to finish.
“Our students will develop various skill sets as well as values,” Carroll said. “And, we will be graduating students who will really be able to internalize what it means to be engaged citizens.”
One of those students, Joey Davenport, helped to announce the launch of the College Service Project at Union. Davenport has helped lead Repair Affair projects within the community and will assist in managing this initiative. Davenport said students have already been reviewing applications from local residents in hopes of soon approving and beginning projects.
“We hope to have home visits and set dates for the start of the projects next week,” Davenport said. “It’s great to know our students can use their skills and abilities to be able to go out and help their community.”
Davenport said students have been reviewing applications submitted to them from ASP headquarters. But, local residents can begin submitting their own applications for assistance.
Applications for assistance through the Union College CSP are available by visiting http://www.unionky.edu/sites/default/files/public/downloads/news/CSPHomeRepairApplication.pdf
For more information on ASP, please visit www.asphome.org