As a way to show support for U.S. veterans who are students, faculty or staff members at Texas Tech University, the College of Media & Communication, in conjunction with student volunteers, is offering veterans and their families free greeting cards for the upcoming holiday season.
Families will have their photos taken by students on Saturday (Nov. 21) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the College of Media & Communication's Photo Lab. These photos will be used to create custom greeting cards to be given to the families during the first week of December.
Space to be included in the project is limited. To secure a photo session time, Texas Tech students, faculty and staff who are veterans can email firstname.lastname@example.org. The RSVP deadline is 3 p.m. Friday (Nov. 20).
Spearheading the project for the College of Media & Communication is associate dean for undergraduate affairs Todd Chambers and director of advising Julia Heard Witt. Community advisers Marisa Hohensee and Nathan Zuar, who lead the Media & Communication Learning Community (MCLC) based in Murdough Hall, coordinated the student volunteers working on the project.
With Texas Tech ranked by several organizations as one of the top schools in the U.S. for veterans, it made sense for the college to reach out to its veteran students, faculty and staff, Chambers said.
“We brainstormed the idea about how we could give back to an organization or community group and felt those who have served or are serving our country would be a wonderful group of people to help out,” Chambers said. “Because we are in the College of Media & Communication, we felt we could do something media-related, so the idea of Christmas cards came up.”
When deciding on a community service opportunity for her residents, Hohensee said she pulled from her background.
“I am the daughter of a veteran,” Hohensee said. “Every day I am thankful for what he has given me. I really want to show respect to those who have served or are currently serving.”
For Chambers, he said it was obvious the MCLC and College of Media & Communication could team up for a project primarily run by learning community students.
“It was a no-brainer,” Chambers said. “After getting to know the students this year, we knew they would enjoy the project, learn about event planning, photography and media relations, and appreciate the opportunity to give back.”
Echoing Chambers, Zuar said he thought the holiday card project would be a great learning opportunity for his residents.
“This allows our residents to get involved and help run the program, giving them experience on how to pull off an event like this,” Zuar said.
Hohensee said providing experiences related to a student's future field of choice is the goal of the learning community program.
“Learning communities are able to create programs that showcase some aspect of a student's choice of major,” Hohensee said. “Students get to experience their major in a different way outside the traditional classroom.”
The College of Media & Communication is providing printing services and equipment necessary to take photos of the families. The MCLC, with funding approved by Murdough Hall's Complex Council, is covering mailing costs and providing volunteers.
“My hope is they learn about how to serve others first and foremost,” Chambers said. “The secondary goal would be that our students see how media can be used in a very positive manner. Hopefully, this will stay with them the rest of their lives.”