By Derek Byrne, Texas A&M University New Student & Family Programs
Before fall semester classes began, Texas A&M’s newest Aggies completed their first service project for the Bryan-College Station community by donating thousands of dollars to the Brazos Valley Food Bank. Incoming students in the Class of 2021 donated more than $9,000 in funds collected throughout the summer.
The Aggie Orientation Leader Program invited students and their family members to donate to the food bank during the New Student Conference, a mandatory orientation program for all incoming students. Each year, student orientation leaders develop a service component for the program by partnering with a local nonprofit organization. Jasmine Zenn, a member of the class of 2019, served as the organization’s finance director and led the effort to partner with the Brazos Valley Food Bank.
“We value the chance to emphasize service during the New Student Conference, a time when many students are forming their first impressions of Texas A&M,” Zenn said. “It’s their first opportunity as Aggies to give back to the community that will be giving to them for four years.”
Representatives from the Aggie Orientation Leader Program officially delivered the collected funds to the food bank on Friday, Dec. 8. This year’s collected total of $9,346.46 nearly tripled the amount raised during the previous year’s donation period. Zenn believes the food bank’s mission resonated with many students, illustrating unseen needs that exist in the community.
“The food bank helps a lot of people in the community who may not be seen by others,” Zenn said. “There are a lot of college students who don’t have access to food, and the Brazos Valley Food Bank guarantees they’re getting at least one meal a day. It gives us an opportunity to support fellow college students in need.”
By providing an invitation to serve locally during the New Student Conference, student leaders encourage new Aggies to consistently embrace service throughout their time on campus.
“It shows our emphasis on selfless service as an institution,” Zenn said. “As soon as they begin their time at Texas A&M, students can see that we take pride in our service to the people and communities around us.”