Extraordinary Community Service (Students and Organizations) honors students and student organizations that exhibit the Volunteer spirit in the community.
Jarryd Chaplin played the last home Vols tennis match of his four-year career a few weeks ago. He won and led his team to victory. Described as mature and motivating, he’s also a champion on the SEC Academic Honor Roll and SEC Community Service Team. He has held a key role in Team Impact, his tennis team’s service group, which engages with kids at Boys and Girls Clubs and Montgomery Village. The team has adopted a local child who is battling eye cancer, and Chaplin is close to him and his parents. Chaplin’s service is making a difference for Knoxville’s youth. “I think Jarryd is supportive of others because he knows that it is not only having an impact on their lives but on his as well,” said his nominator. A native of Sydney, Australia, Chaplin will graduate this summer with a degree in supply chain management. He plans to continue his studies and earn an MBA.
Allison Gose is a gifted scholar and a passionate advocate. A junior with a double major in history and political science, she dedicates much of her time advancing disability awareness on campus and in the surrounding community—while also writing two honors-level theses and maintaining a perfect GPA. Gose is a founding member of Campus Disability Advocates, serving as its vice president for the past two years. She has worked with Admissions and other offices on campus to help them better understand, accommodate, and present the campus to people with disabilities. Her work has helped bring Disability Week and the Disability Issues and Awareness Conference to campus. She is also founding a chapter of Delta Alpha Pi to honor the efforts of outstanding students with disabilities. Gose has interned with the city of Knoxville’s Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator. The city recognized her impact on the community with its Equity Award last year.
Elise Heuberger envisions a world where all are free from oppression, fear, and injustice. A double major in English and political science from Collierville, Tennessee, she has worked through a variety of organizations to make the world a better place for others. Heuberger has completed more than 100 hours of community service and works with the YWCA as a court advocate for shelter residents. She has been a legal intern for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and served as a congressional intern for US Senator Lamar Alexander. As a leadership and service ambassador, Heuberger was a perfect example of 360-degree leadership. She can lead from any position within a group. Her experiences here have brought her to her next step: she will attend Vanderbilt Law School in the fall. “Elise’s true calling is to simply help others, and I look forward to seeing her continue to do this for years to come,” said her nominator.
Victoria Knight’s many leadership and service roles show her passion for helping others on campus and in the community. The senior from Knoxville served twice as an Alternative Break trip leader. She co-planned the first international Alternative Spring Break in many years, a service project in Jamaica. Knight founded two new campus groups, the Food Recovery Network and the Hunger Alliance, serving as co-president of both. They have recovered food from multiple campus events, including a 600-pound haul after a football game. Their work has helped feed hundreds of hungry people in Knoxville. Knight’s service always exceeds expectations, whether she’s serving as vice chair of the Cultural Attractions Committee, writing columns for the Daily Beacon, coaching a kids’ soccer team, or training elementary students to run a 5K. Her hard work, perseverance, involvement, and leadership leave a true Tennessee Volunteer legacy.
Ellen Renfroe, senior in psychology, is a leader on the softball field and in the community. The Lady Vol spends much of her time inspiring Knoxville youth through softball clinics, visits to children’s hospitals, and community events that promote female athleticism. She also finds time to serve through Habitat for Humanity, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Giving back to those in need and involvement in the community are core to who Ellen is as a human being,” her nominator said.
Margaret Smith, a senior in biological sciences, is involved in a lot of activities on campus. But the Alternative Break Program is where she shines the brightest. Smith has demonstrated confidence, poise, and professionalism as she moved through the ranks of the program from participant to trip leader to student coordinator—a role she helped create. She has also worked with the program to implement service days at the local level. “She is one of the most driven, dedicated, and passionate students with whom I have had the pleasure of working,” her nominator said, adding that Smith’s passion for the Alternative Break Program has inspired others and helped the program grow.
National Society of Black Engineers
The members of UT’s National Society of Black Engineers chapter are active on campus and in the community. Recently named one of the top chapters in the country, the UT chapter engages elementary and middle school students to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Members volunteer at Vine Middle School and the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center to help with homework and facilitate engineering and science activities. They have helped establish an engineering club at Vine Middle School. The group hosts an annual daylong event for elementary school students from Knoxville and Chattanooga. Chapter members develop and facilitate activities in different engineering disciplines to interest young students in their field. In 2013, more than thirty-five students came to campus for the event. The members also offer monthly academic development and study halls for UT students.