In a state rich with traditions of volunteerism, service is second nature. Alumni from UT, the land-grant institution of the Volunteer State, perform good works both here at home and beyond Tennessee’s borders.
UT alumni chapters across the country are always willing to lend a helping hand to charities and organization in their communities, sharing the Tennessee Volunteer spirit in towns both large and small. These are a few examples of how chapters participate in community service efforts.
The chapters in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Columbia, South Carolina, as well as the Tennessee chapters in Sevier County and -Kingsport–Sullivan County each adopt a highway in their area that they clean up four times a year.
The Memphis–Shelby County chapter assists the Clothes Closet at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Memphis. On two Sundays in November, a group of UT alumni volunteers to sort, stack, and distribute clothes for the homeless.
The Henry County (Tennessee) UT Alumni Chapter coordinates the Henry County Helping Hand Auction, a series of radio-thons that benefit area nonprofits. Several civic clubs, churches, and the Henry County UT Alumni Chapter recently joined forces to raise more than $255,000 for 67 charities.
Other chapters combine their TV football-watching parties with collecting items for good causes. The Central Florida chapter collects eyewear for OneSight; the Triangle Area of North Carolina chapter collects food items for the local Food Bank; and the Tallahassee (Florida) chapter collects food for local charities. The Denver chapter also collects food, and the Dallas–Fort Worth chapter collects paper products for the Family Place, a shelter for women and children.
“I think it’s important to give back to the community,” says Robert Shafer, president of the Dallas–Fort Worth chapter. “As alumni of the University of Tennessee, we have been given a gift that many will never see. We have all benefited from our education and the communities we live in. As a group, we can help more people than we probably could as individuals.”
Answering phones for the National Public Television membership drive is where the Davidson County (Tennessee) chapter puts its time and effort each year. Chapter members have a great time on the phones and love for friends to see UT representation on the station when they flip through the channels.
The Madison County (Tennessee) chapter collects toiletries and other small items for the homeless who are housed on winter nights at local churches through a community project called Room at the Inn.
Other UT alumni chapters that participated in community service projects last year include Phoenix, Atlanta, and Columbus (Ohio) outside the state, and at home, the Knoxville, Greene County, and Rutherford County chapters.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Alumni Association chapter program or how you can get involved in your local chapter, visit alumni.tennessee.edu.