Hometown: Dyersburg, TN
Majors: Sociology & Anthropology, Politics, Shepherd Poverty Program, and Women’s Studies Program
Post-Graduation Plans: I am applying for a Watson Fellow to study Nomads in Africa. After that, I am hoping to pursue my master’s degree in sociology and then attend a doctorate program in the same field.
Favorite W&L Memory: Waking up later than I had anticipated on the first day of school, nearly rolling out of my top bunk bed and hitting my roommate’s bed on my way down. Then, proceeding to slip and fall on the desk chair before finally making it to the blaring alarm. If that’s not getting off on the wrong foot, I don’t know what would be!
Favorite Class: A philosophy course entitled Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity. The course covered an array of topics on a daily basis that always blew me away. The way in which we discussed concepts of gender, race, prejudice and injustice forced me to reexamine all of my opinions concerning these topics, and just stop and think about how and why I held certain beliefs. Talk about being enlightened--I think I may have left that class feeling illuminated!
I’m an emcee, fund-raiser, mistress of ceremonies and anything that involves microphones, swipe machines, and raising/asking for money. Now that I’ve gotten your attention, here’s my story!
Originally from Ghana, Africa, I was raised in semi-rural west Tennessee. In high school, I prided myself not only on being culturally aware, but on being a verbal advocate against injustice and prejudice. It wasn’t until W&L that I was presented with the chance to put my money where my mouth was, literally.
As a member of the Student Association for International Learning (SAIL), I headed up the committee for International Development & Relief Groups (IDRG). Through IDRG and the support of fellow SAILers, I was able to create and implement an annual talent show fundraiser called Showcase for Sudan that drew from the W&L student and faculty talent pool. To supplement the showcase, we asked members of the faculty and administration if they would be willing to sing karaoke at the halftime show during the Parent’s Weekend home football game. Talk about embarrassing—and by that I mean, how selfless and charitable. We made containers for each performer to collect donations. At the end of 10 days, we totaled up the money and declared Dean of Students Dawn Watkins the lucky winner. At the half-time show, we reminded everyone about the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and how we were raising money to send to refugee camps in that area. The crowd enjoyed Dean Watkins’ beautifully sung version of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” so much that they donated almost $2,000 in less than 30 minutes!
We went on to raise another $2,000 through ticket sales, entry fees, and the raffle that we had at the talent show. We guaranteed great attendance by making crowd participation almost a quarter of the score and giving half of the proceeds to the winning act. And we kept costs low, as everything from the snacks and refreshments to the actual raffle prizes were donated from various business and individuals in the W&L and Lexington community.
Putting on the first Showcase for Sudan and Singin’ for Sudan: Faculty Addition made me appreciate the willingness of people to give to a great cause, and gave me the chance to finally make a difference in the world. It also helped me learn the art of emceeing and writing a good joke--both of which are great skills to have. Planning and executing these events two years in a row has allowed me to realize that I have a passion for service, both domestically and abroad, and that the change we hope to make in this world must begin with us.