The challenge for Belmont students to engage and transform the world that began during their first week on campus continues Saturday, March 24 with Bruin Den Day and Family Literacy Day.
Family Literacy Day will take place 1 to 4 p.m. at E.S. Rose Park and Sports Complex on Edgehill Avenue. The event, aimed at children from pre-K through grade six and their families, is designed to celebrate the joys of reading with a free afternoon of interactive story times, crafts, games and refreshments. The primary focus of the event is Reading Circles, hosted by various campus groups such as the Student Government Association, the English Club, fraternities and sororities, the Black Student Alliance and the Student Athlete Council. Each group picks a different theme and offers a variety of books for all ages.
Some 106 children from Metro Nashville public elementary schools submitted a poem about their favorite place from a book, and several area songwriters paired their music with the students’ poems. Click here to hear the songs.
“We’re very excited to be celebrating the 12th year of hosting Family Literacy Day and the third year of hosting the Poetry Contest. Due to a confluence of events, Metro Schools’ Spring Break, Easter and Belmont’s earlier start and finish to the semester, we’ve had to move Family Literacy Day earlier in the year than normal. We really need folks to help us out by spreading the word to folks in the community, and if they are interested in volunteering, signing up as soon as possible,” said Tim Stewart, director of service learning.
Volunteers are need to assist with set-up, logistics, refreshments, games, crafts, face-painting, and Reading Circles. Click here to read more on volunteering. To volunteer at family Literacy Day, contact Tim Stewart or co-presidents of Belmont Volunteers for Literacy Kate Tully and Eric Schoen.
Other Bruin Den Day events include working on a community garden, cleaning up Radnor Lake State Park, painting the interior of Greater Christ Temple Church, organizing food at Second Harvest Food Bank and working with homeless at Room in the Inn.
“Given Belmont students and their passion and drive to serve in the community, these are the areas that we felt they would connect well with,” said Assistant Director of Student Activities Sara Stacy, who is coordinating Bruin Den Day. Belmont hopes to have at least 280 students at these projects. Students can register on Bruin Link or by picking up an application from the Student Government Association office by Friday.
Bruin Den Day, which dates back at least seven years, began with students cleaning up streets surrounding campus to help neighbors affected by campus construction, Stacy said. Since then, the University has reassessed community needs and reached out to other parts of Nashville, sometimes with student-led community service projects.
“It is really easy to get caught up in the Belmont bubble and forget that there are real needs out there. Creating awareness and connecting Belmont students to the needs of the Nashville community is something that is very important. A lot of students have a heart to serve but don’t know how. Bruin Den Day is a great initiative to facilitate that connection,” said Nicole Brandt, a student who coordinated the Poverty in the Arts service project for Bruin Den Day. For the second time this school year, Belmont students will give homeless Nashvillians an opportunity to express themselves through music and art through workshops at Room in the Inn. Brandt is expecting 20 Belmont students and 20 Tennessee State University students to participate.
As a Christian community of learning and service, Belmont continuously seeks opportunities to engage students in ways that meet the needs of the community. Bruin Den Day and Family Literacy Day come on the heels of the March 12 announcement that Belmont University is one of 110 schools that received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction from the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education. The title honors Belmont University as a leader among institutions of higher education for the University’s support of volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement for its commitment to service and compelling campus-community partnerships that produce measurable results for the Nashville community.
Last academic year, Belmont students volunteered some 60,000 hours with 60 nonprofits, churches and organizations served. Their community service was valued at $450,000.