The first Haslam Volunteer Impact Recognition Ceremony honored 29 students who have performed 160 hours or more of service to the campus and local community. The event was held by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business at the foot of the Volunteer statue.
James A. Haslam II, the man for whom both the program and college are named, greeted the students as they arrived for the ceremony. He also interacted with students, faculty and staff at the after-ceremony luncheon.
Mark Willoughby, director of student engagement at Haslam and one of the organizers of the program, said that students were excited to see how engaged and invested the college’s namesake was in their volunteer work.
Of the students honored this year, several performed more than 160 hours of service. Senior Sabrina Florey finished 452 hours of service. During alternative spring breaks, she helped with hurricane relief work in South Carolina and Florida, built wheelchair ramps in Kentucky and also served at Thrive Lonsdale, an after-school program for children in Knoxville.
Florey says she was honored and humbled to be recognized for her volunteer work.
“I appreciate the way that Haslam is trying to encourage students to serve during their time in college,” she says. “I hope that others see those who received a Haslam Volunteer Impact award and realize that it is possible to give up time from all the business of college in order to help someone else.”
Many of the students have served with agencies that focus on children and youth development, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Emerald Youth Foundation, and Knoxville Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo. Other common interests of students were the Humane Society of East Tennessee and Habitat for Humanity.
Stephen L. Mangum, dean of the college and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair, said that the presence of Pilot Flying J founder Jim Haslam at the inaugural Haslam Volunteer Impact Recognition Ceremony made it an even more memorable occasion.
“It is our great pleasure to join with Mr. Haslam to honor these students who have dedicated so many hours of service to the community,” the dean said. “They truly embody the Volunteer spirit, which Mr. Haslam exemplifies and to which we all aspire.”
The Haslam Volunteer Impact program was initiated last fall by the Haslam Undergraduate Cabinet as a vehicle to define for students, staff and faculty what it means to be a Tennessee Volunteer. As an example of the Volunteer spirit, the group was inspired by Jim Haslam’s dedication to service.
“We looked at Mr. Haslam’s legacy, his commitment to the community, his engagement with the college, and both his philanthropic activities and just spending his time and efforts in the community,” he said.
The program is open to all Haslam students, faculty and staff. Service hours are logged through a database maintained in the Jones Center for Leadership and Service. Those who complete at least 160 hours of service during their tenure at the university will be recognized annually at the Haslam Volunteer Impact Recognition Ceremony.
In addition to the students recognized this year, another 240 students in the program have completed 40 hours or more of service, and more than 1,000 have done between one and 39 hours. All combined, current Haslam students have completed over 49,000 hours of service.