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DSC Students Do Well by Doing Good

Dalton State students are doing well by doing good, and in the process are learning to be productive, contributing members of a global society. This semester hundreds of students participated in service projects reaching out beyond the campus to improve the lives of those in our community and beyond.

“It is a well-known fact that students who participate in community outreach related to curriculum perform better and are more engaged,” said Dr. Pat Chute, Dalton State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Additionally the effect these collaborations have on local businesses and organizations helps to build long term outcomes that benefit everyone.”

For example, more than 100 students of Dalton State’s Wright School of Business volunteered at 50 organizations in Whitfield and surrounding counties performing more than 1,000 hours of community service during the fall semester.

“Not only did this make a difference in non-profit companies big and small, but our students gained valuable insight as to the importance and personal gain of volunteering one's time," said Dale Kelly, advising coordinator. “These students will enter the workforce prepared to recognize the needs of the community in which they work and understand why volunteerism is at the heart of success and prosperity for all involved.”

Dean Larry Johnson said, “As with the business community in general, we feel it is important for graduates of the Wright School of Business to have an appreciation for community service. All of this is part of the professional development course where students prepare for the ‘world of work’ by preparing resumes, participating in mock interviews, understanding proper business attire, and formal dining.”

The Dean of Students Office partners each year with the Salvation Army to provide gifts for children in the area who otherwise would have little at Christmas. The “Holiday Helper Tree” in the Pope Student Center is decorated with angel ornaments bearing the names of area children in need. This year more than 50 angels were helped by Dalton State students. In similar fashion, faculty, staff, and students participate in the annual Sharing Is Caring Christmas Store contributing toys, clothes, cash, and time.

Teacher candidates from Dalton State’s School of Education reached out through Learning Academies such as Viking Camp at Eastside Elementary School to provide workshops to help parents develop literacy skills with their children. Funding for Viking Camp and other Learning Academies is provided through a Governor’s Office for Student Achievement grant.

“During regular field placements, our teacher candidates do not get many opportunities to interact with parents in meaningful ways,” said Dr. Sharon Hixon, dean of the School of Education. “Teacher candidates who work in these Learning Academies, like Viking Camp, are positively impacting the development of the children in our community while also learning valuable skills to assist them with parent engagement when they have their own classrooms.”

In addition, education students also took time out during the semester to collect the oral histories of local African American veterans at Dalton’s Emery Center. Approximately 15 percent of US veterans are African American, yet only 3 percent of the stories collected by the Veterans History Project come from black service members. Dalton State students worked with students from Morris Innovative High School to record the histories which will be maintained by the Emery Center as well as the Library of Congress.

Nurturers by nature, helping professionals such as those learning in Dalton State’s School of Health Professions, are drawn to projects that improve the quality of life for their fellow citizens.

“Students in our health professions programs have many demands on their time and I am amazed and grateful that they consistently dedicate their time, talent, and resources to help our community,” said Dr. Gina Kertulis-Tarter, dean. “Their service to the community is a reflection of the forces that inspired them to work in a caring profession.”

This year, students in the School’s Radiologic Technology program contributed more than 1,100 pounds of food donated to WRCB-TV’s annual “Share Your Christmas” food drive in early December and were recognized with a feature story on television.

Nursing students partnered with the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership to provide health education and screening services in Whitfield, Murray, and Gilmer counties providing instruction on healthy eating and diabetes risk reduction in English and Spanish. Nursing students also helped plan and administer the College’s fall health fair and assisted with flu vaccine clinics at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga and the Whitfield County Health Department’s drive by vaccine clinic at the Dalton Convention Center.

Social work students from the School of Health Professions were recently recognized as The Daily Citizen’s Citizens of the Week for their work assisting Gatlinburg, TN residents whose homes were damaged and destroyed by recent wildfires. The students helped cook and serve meals as well as helped sort mountains of good donated after the fires.

“It is uplifting to know these are the future professionals that we will see leading our community,” said Kertulis-Tartar.