People lend hands to abused animals

Jessica Kanalas

Students volunteer at Ravenna farm

It rained the night before, making the soft, dry dirt they walk in every day turn to a thick, slippery mud.

Getting from their house to the nearby grassy area was almost impossible without sinking. Some tried, and, unable to make the journey, were knee-deep and stranded halfway between the two safe havens, mud solidified against their skin.

It was 9 a.m. on a weekend morning last year. It was fall, a bit of cold in the air, and it was still sprinkling.

These pigs needed serious help.

That’s when members of Students of Scholarship, a small, service-oriented student organization, showed up to volunteer. They were greeted upon their arrival at the Happy Trails Farm by several members of the nonprofit Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, Inc.

“None of us were prepared for this,” Julie Lanz said. “Our shoes were destroyed by the end of the day.”

Lanz, senior marketing major, is co-president of Students of Scholarship.

After getting a tour of the farm, Lanz and the other volunteers put sand and wooden boards down for the pigs to walk from one area to the other until the mud dried.

“The pigs were over 1,000 pounds. It’s no wonder they sunk,” she said as she laughed. “They were so big two people could probably ride them.”

Happy Trails Farm is an organization that works with abused, abandoned and neglected farm animals. Members rescue, rehabilitate and provide an adoption program for the animals. Because of the need for volunteers, Students of Scholarship members said they were excited to help out more than just people.

Sophomore political science major Joseph Arriaga said he’s been to Happy Trails twice during his time with Students of Scholarship, and both times were amazing. At his first experience, one of the rescued horses would follow him wherever he went, “like I had a carrot in my back pocket,” he said.

For student members, going to Happy Trails is one of the most popular services chosen, Arriaga said.

“We all just got to know each other a lot,” he said.

Participating in volunteer activities is a central goal for the members of Students of Scholarship. The student organization was created in November 1997, and its motto became “Giving back to Kent what Kent gives to us.”

“We really want to thank Kent and the university for giving us scholarships,” Lanz said. “It’s important to us, and we feel like we are doing an awesome thing.”

Jessie Hubbard is a junior early childhood education major and the other co-president of the organization. Hubbard said besides Happy Trails, service activities include volunteering at LifeShare blood drives, the King Kennedy Center, a nearby center that sponsors events for children, and Relay For Life, a race to raise money for cancer research.

Another member of Students of Scholarship, Lisa Crea, said it’s more than just doing service.

“I’ve made a lot of friends,” said Crea, an integrated mathematics major.

Alex Hubbard, a senior speech pathology major, is secretary and webmaster for the group. She is Jessie Hubbard’s sister.

“I agree with Lisa,” she said. “And I’ve gained leadership experience, too.”

“Just being involved is what it’s about,” Crea continued.

Both of the Hubbard sisters, Crea and Lanz have all been involved with Students of Scholarship since they were freshmen.

“I was invited to a scholarship luncheon with the president my freshman year,” Lanz said. “I didn’t really know what to expect.”

The lunch was hosted by Student Financial Aid, and older members of Students of Scholarship were there recruiting and talking to everyone. Lanz said she wanted to join because it seemed to be a good organization for service, and it got her started somewhere. As a freshman, it can be difficult to know how and where to begin college life.

Alex admitted that she thought it was going to be formal and run professionally by the older students.

“But you really get to know each other,” she said. “Even though we’re not really big, we have fun together.”

Even though service and giving back to those who have helped them along their way is the main goal for Students of Scholarship, fun activities are always implemented each semester.

“Last year, we went to a haunted house around Halloween,” Lanz said. “I love haunted houses, and I had so much fun, but I remember being terrified to go through with it. But it was a great bonding experience for us. And I mean that in the literal sense, too,” she laughed, “since we all locked arms so tight I thought we were cutting off circulation in them. We wouldn’t let go until we were finished. I loved it!”

Meetings for the organization are biweekly, but if students want to get involved and can’t make a meeting, the Internet can be an alternative. The organization’s Web site is, but the officers said personal e-mails work, too.

“And if all else fails,” Lanz said, “find us on Facebook. We have a group you can join.”

Lanz also wanted to stress that Students of Scholarship isn’t just for students who have received financial aid. Anyone can join.

“It’s about service,” she said. “If you want to serve others, we certainly won’t turn you down. We want to bring together Kent students and make a difference on and off campus.”

Lanz said even though the students in the group study hard and receive scholarships, there’s more to them than just that.

“It’s rewarding because we know we are helping out the community that has helped us,” she said. “With events such as Happy Trails, we can step outside our normal school atmosphere. It’s me and a shovel and a ton of mud.”

Contact features correspondent Jessica Kanalas at [email protected]