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Treasure Savannah: Serving Up Civic Engagement

(March 7, 2016) On Saturday, March 5, 320 students, faculty and staff gathered on the Student Union steps in the early morning to prepare for Treasure Savannah, Armstrong’s bi-annual day of service.

President Linda M. Bleicken, who said she is “already sold” on the event, handed the microphone to four students, including the reigning Miss Collegiate 100 Charlene Rogers and Student Government Association president Matthias Downs, to share why they gave up their Saturday to help others.

The most notable testimony, however, came from retired Armstrong staffer Gwen Sullivan.

“You get more out of this day than you put into it,” she told the audience.

Volunteers kept this in mind as they posed for a group photo, followed their site captains to the buses and departed to locations across Savannah. Volunteers at the Armstrong Liberty Center headed to sites in Hinesville to make a positive impact on the community.

Vice President for Student Affairs Georj Lewis told participants they could learn from each project site and develop leadership skills.

“To lead,” he said, “you have to learn how to serve.”

The volunteers who visited the residents of Azalealand Nursing Home took this message to heart.

Participants shared their academic goals with seniors who had already lived out their dreams of teaching, traveling and starting a family. The 101-year-old vice president of the home’s Resident Council showcased her positive spirit and told one Treasure Savannah volunteer that she was “the treasure.”

Check out our photo gallery of Armstrong in action at Treasure Savannah venues.

Meanwhile, a team of Armstrong staff and students volunteering at America’s Second Harvest Food Bank sorted food donations and packed 200 emergency food boxes, which will feed up to 250 families across 21 counties.

Robert Smith, Armstrong’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer at the food bank.

“We are part of a broader community,” he explained. “Community service is important for all of us."

Laura Lane McKinnon, Union Mission’s director of development, observed that Treasure Savannah participants displayed “the right spirit of service.”

Marlayna Garvin, an Armstrong student who participated in Treasure Savannah despite a broken foot, embodied the spirit of the day as she selflessly walked back and forth across the Union Mission warehouse carrying items to be recycled.

Together, volunteers removed 25 bags worth of yard debris, so Union Mission’s patrons hoping to start a new life can see that same hope mirrored in their surroundings.

As Treasure Savannah participants boarded the buses to leave, furniture was delivered to Union Mission’s warehouse on behalf of Dr. Alison Hatch’s Sociology class. Her students have been gathering donations to provide seating for the common room in Union Mission’s Grace House.

Armstrong’s impact on these project sites across the community continues long after the day ends. The experience of helping others, in Savannah and in Hinesville, will never be forgotten.

Rhonda Ruesch

“After working in the medical field for top physicians for many years, the general consensus was always that the Armstrong Nursing students were held in the highest regard.”

Rhonda Ruesch
Class of 2019
Milwaukee, Wisconsin