WEB EXCLUSIVE: Honors College donates to Head Start

Trevor Ivan

Boxes and bags filled with notebooks, markers, pens and various other school supplies have littered a table in the conference room at the Honors College administrative offices in Van Campen Hall for the past three weeks.

The honors freshman class, in coordination with the Honors College Alumni Chapter, collected the supplies over the summer for the Portage County chapter of Head Start, according to Becky Gares, the coordinator of advising and alumni relations for the Honors College.

The Honors College gave the supplies to Portage County Head Start program yesterday afternoon.

Honors freshman were encouraged to bring their donations to orientation in August, Gares said.

Mark Bartholet, senior integrated math major, helped to organize the project. He is a student liaison to the executive board of the Honors College Alumni Chapter. He helped to collect the supplies from the freshman when they arrived for orientation.

Bartholet said it was overwhelming when the donations started to arrive.

“We started with a dorm-sized refrigerator box to put the supplies in,” Bartholet said. “We thought that would be sufficient. However, that filled up in no time.”

He said that the Honors College administration thought they would store the supplies along a wall in a conference room in Van Campen Hall. However, due to the large number of donations, it became necessary to use the table in the conference room in order to store the supplies.

“We ended up setting the bags in here,” Bartholet said. “I guess (the Honors College administration) couldn’t use their meeting room. Although, I suppose they didn’t mind.”

Gares said that this project began with the Honors College Alumni Chapter.

“The Honors College Alumni Chapter wanted to do something service oriented,” Gares said. “They were also looking for something that could involve students and be related to education.”

Lou Perez, one of the members of the Honors College Alumni Chapter, is also a member of the Portage Private Industry Council. This group coordinates Head Start of Portage County.

Perez said he helped to get the project started since he is a member of both groups.

Suzanne Livengood, the executive director of the Portage Private Industry Council, said that the Head Start program is very excited about these donations.

She said these donations will be used to help about 400 children enrolled in the Head Start program in Portage County.

“Each year, our program must raise $500,000 in order to receive $1.9 million in grants from the federal government,” Livengood said. “These donations go so far in helping us reach that goal.”

These donations will be very meaningful to the children who receive them Livengood said.

“The children in our program will love this stuff,” Livengood said. “Since these children come from families living in poverty, they will be very excited to have their own notebook or set of markers.”

Livengood said that she looks forward to working with the Honors College in the future. One idea she has right now is to place a giving tree in the lobby of Van Campen Hall in December. Students would be able to donate clothing items like mittens and hats for children enrolled in Head Start.

Some freshman donated money instead of school supplies, Gares said . She said that the alumni chapter will donate it to Head Start at a later time, probably in the form of a new piece of equipment.

Students who donated items felt that this was a worthwhile project. Brooke Nachtway, a freshman architecture major, said she donated some supplies.

“I do a lot of community service,” Nachtway said. “It’s a great idea. I like to do this kind of stuff.”

Contact Honors College and International Affairs reporter Trevor Ivan at [email protected].