As CEHD students braced for finals, volunteers arranged a complete package
The mission itself was daunting: Assemble approximately 240 personalized exam-time care packages within three hours.
On April 26, however, a group of Highlanders and other supporters gathered in the Patricia Langford Roughton Teaching Resources Center.
Together, they knocked out that considerable task in well under half the time.
“I think we’re done,” Tina Weiner ’72, one of several alums who showed up to help, said just before 5:30 p.m., musing that she had expected the job to last at least until 7 p.m.
She and about 20 others – alumni, faculty, and staff from the College of Education and Human Development, the Teaching Resources Center and the Office of University Advancement – assembled the dozens and dozens of the bright red care packages for first-year CEHD students who were bracing for final exams.
Each contained bottled water, Cheez-Its, Starburst and Skittles, a few fun-sized candy bars and Chips Ahoy cookies, plus Post-It Notes, a highlighter and a mechanical pencil. In short, items that tend to come in handy during study sessions as a semester draws to its close.
“Our purpose in creating these exam care packages is to show our students how much we care about them and their academic success, and to also encourage them through what can be a really stressful week,” said CEHD Dean Tamara Wallace, Ph.D.
Her office funded the effort from private support received by the college: “It is my hope these will give our students a little boost, and that they will feel encouraged knowing that they have the support of the entire college.”
Numerous alums, many of whom graduated from Radford in the first half of the 1970s, stopped in to inscribe personalized cards to the students, written in their own hand.
“One year down! Keep it going,” read one. “You’ve got this! Study hard!” said another.
The group used a makeshift assembly line to fill the packages, affix a Highlander sticker to them and then use a loop of ribbon to attach the cards to their handles.
As pop hits from the alums’ college days played overhead – James Taylor and John Denver, The Archies and The Association – rows of their finished products briskly lined up by the dozen.
“I’m on the alumni committee for the reunion, and we’ve just kind of stayed on doing various things. I’m happy to do it; it’s fun,” said Susan Marchi ’70. “And I’ve reconnected with some Radford friends.
Another volunteer, Kristen Swanson Houston ’98, M.A. ’01, said she decided to participate after attending the Alumni Volunteer Summit in February.
“In my work with parents and alumni, and alumni student leaders, in particular, they are always seeking opportunities to interact with and support students and their success,” Houston said.
“We were all first-year students at some point,” she added. “When I reflect on the folks that impacted my own college experience, knowing that alumni and faculty and staff were in my corner definitely motivated me to work harder.
“I’d love to see this initiative grow—and hope that includes other alumni supporting students in big and small ways,” Houston said.
“It was an easy way to contribute. And I know that the next day, the students are going to benefit,” said volunteer Rick Sparks ’99, M.S. ’03.
“This is a win-win situation because we get to involve our alumni and invite them into a tangible way to support our students,” said Vanessa Conner '12, M.S. '15, the assistant director for University Advancement and Donor Relations. “And at the same time, we get to encourage our first-year students.”
Afterward, Wallace reflected on the efforts: “I’m really proud of how our CEHD stakeholders came together this evening to engage in a project that will support our students.”