Students were Reddie to Serve last Saturday

Story and Photos by Parker Hutson, Staff Reporter

On the quad, dozens of groups gathered to await their fellow members and prepare to go out and help the community. Looking over the crowd, it wasn’t hard to tell who the morning people were, and who had not had their cup of coffee yet. With the “Reddies” logo in the background as a scene setter, an announcement was made that it was time for us to disperse and head out to help the people of Arkadelphia. 

The cars all pulled out of their spaces, and the different clubs and organizations went on their way. I got in my car and went on my way to my own sorority’s task, which was to help an elderly woman with raking her yard and cutting limbs down in her driveway. She was such a gracious lady and even supplied us with cold sodas and snacks after the job was done. Faith Whiteside, senior psychology major and President of Alpha Sigma Tau felt pretty good about Reddie to Serve. 

“First and foremost to give back to the community,” Whiteside said, “but also to represent Henderson and Alpha Sigma Tau in a positive light that shows what we stand for.” 

“The community in Arkadelphia provides such a kind and supportive environment for us as students to thrive.” she said. “It’s important for us to be able to show how grateful we are for that.” 

I parted ways with my sorority and found the Chi Alpha fraternity trimming hedges by the Happy Land Daycare. The campus Pastor, Caleb Mays, came over to welcome me to the raking party. 

Next, I found myself with the Business Committee. They had gathered in the front yard of the lady they had helped and she passed out snacks to everyone there. The leader of the group and Professor of Business Dr. Akoto, had a lot to say about the event. 

“It’s good to connect with your community and serving the people, especially the older people.” Akoto said. “It’s a useful thing and it just gets us out there to show that we are The School with a Heart. It’s a good feeling to know that you are able to help people.” 

Dr. Akoto and some of the business students had helped an elderly lady put mulch in her backyard, forty pounds of it at that. They also helped rake the leaves as well. Dr. Akoto was asked why he thought the community deserved the school to give back to them, and his answer was something I had not thought about as a student. 

“The community gives so much to the school, so I think it’s good for Henderson to give back to the community. At the school, we are supposed to train our students to go out into communities and be a good service to their communities.” Dr. Akoto said. “I think this is a good way to demonstrate to students that we teach them so that they can get out and be apart of a community one day and give back to that one as well.” 

I never thought of Reddie to Serve in the way that Dr. Akoto described it, as a way of preparing us to go into our own communities after we graduate, it was a new thought, especially for me as a senior. 

Muriel Hasley is a retiree from the University and worked in the nursing department for eleven years. She will be ninety this month. I asked what Mrs. Hasley wanted to say to the Henderson campus, and she had very kind words for the students and faculty. 

“Well I think it’s great. I think the students were all so respectful and contributed their help and act they enjoyed it. I think being apart of the community is good for the students and good for us who are retired.” 

I said my goodbyes to Halsey and her daughter, who had drove here to help her mother out for the weekend, and I got into my car to head to Cracker Barrel, where my sorority was sitting down for some well deserved brunch. Getting to Cracker Barrel and sitting down with my sisters, I looked around at the packed restaurant and saw so many faces of the community. 

I thought about what each of the people had said in their interviews, and in my reflection I knew that everything they had said was true. Reddie to Serve is an amazing way to show this wonderful community just how much they mean to us. They give us so much, and like Caleb said: “Henderson is part of Arkadelphia, and Arkadelphia is part of Henderson.”