Tag Archives: Nylah Powell

SLP connects with the community

Nylah Powell | Staff Writer

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Mr. and Mrs. Keys with their children at the community dinner. | Courtesy of Nylah Powell

On Nov. 17, the Greer Dawson Wilson Student Leadership Program hosted a community Thanksgiving dinner for families in the Hampton area.

They called local churches, shelters, and social services to reach out and see who they could get involved. Members met each family upon entrance and served the families a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Ham, turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, greens and corn bread were some of the dishes served.

SLP started hosting this community dinner a few years ago when one of the co-facilitators, Andrew Williams, came up with the idea.

According to Student Activities director Anzell Harrell, “He started this because he had a big heart. He felt that it was good for Hampton’s SLP to give back to the community and to help other people who are less fortunate.”

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and give thanks for the things we have in the world. Not everyone is as fortunate to have what others do.

At Hampton, these things do not go unnoticed. For this reason, SLP continues to give back to the community.

Senior political science major Whitley Pannell said, “It’s a very rewarding experience to see the smiles on everybody’s faces and to see everyone having a good time.”

There were about five members in the program when it first started, and now it’s growing. Many of the preparations have stayed the same throughout the years and are executed smoothly. However, event coordinators plan to make the project even greater in the future.

“We’re looking to do something a little different with it next year, and that’s maybe carrying it to a shelter where people are a little more comfortable in their element,” said Harrell. “We’re just going to throw some ideas at the students so they can figure out how they would like to do it and how they would like to be a part of it.”

Many of the families attending came from Sixth Mount Zion Baptist church.

“Deacon Colton Ashby was contacted and he told the church about the event,” said member Terry Keys.

Hampton has collaborated with Sixth Mount Zion on many occasion, for many different purposes. One way in which HU helps out the church is Wednesday night tutoring with the children, but it doesn’t stop there.

Pannell reflected, “Quite frankly, it’s nothing to take a little bit of time out of your day to do something … to help somebody else and put a smile on someone’s face.”

While there were some familiar faces at this year’s community dinner, there were new faces as well. “This was our first time at this dinner. The food was awesome! I didn’t know we could bring more people, and I would have brought more with me,” Sixth Mount Zion member Michelle Herman said.

The ultimate goal is to let those who are less fortunate know that they are not alone and get more community members involved over time. SLP plans to spread the word and continue the growth of this program.

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Thanksgiving Break: College Edition

Nylah Powell | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Leenika Belfield-Martin

Thanksgiving is pretty much the same for many families: feast on a homemade dinner, catch up and celebrate with family and express gratitude. There’s no doubt that Thanksgiving with family is delicious and exciting; but for college students who can’t make it home for the holiday break, there are alternative versions.

One of the best ways to show your appreciation is to give back to the community.

Donate clothes to a local shelter, send a letter or package to a veteran or volunteer to help those in need. “Back home I volunteered for a shelter where I served food to the homeless. It was fun and definitely made me feel good,” said freshman Justina Johnson.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, try finding community service opportunities in the area, whether it be on or off campus.

Bring out the markers and paper, because decorating the dorm is another alternative. Tap into your creativity and get into the holiday spirit by enhancing your dorm room with pictures of pumpkins and turkeys.

This would pass a lot of time, make your room stand out over all the rest and get everyone in the mood for the holidays.

An additional option would be checking out a new movie. Local movie theaters include Cinema Café and AMC Hampton Towne Centre 24. You could even host a movie night on campus with your friends.

Make some popcorn and turn on Netflix for a relaxing night. This more laid-back alternative is inexpensive and feasible; you can’t go wrong with a movie night.

A relaxing event like this is something that college students don’t often get to enjoy with the demand of daily assignments and schedules. Take advantage of the extra leisure time.

Have you ever thought of hosting a potluck? Invite guests and have them bring whatever dish they choose.

To make it more interesting, have them bring non-traditional Thanksgiving food and see what everyone comes up with.

“My friends and I had a potluck once when my mom went out of town. Everyone brought something completely different than the other foods and it made it really fun. I would definitely do that again,” said freshman Kennedi Jackson.

Instead of macaroni and cheese, try potato casserole. Instead of sweet potato pie, eat red velvet cupcakes. The options are endless. If you want to stick to the basics, you could go grocery shopping and cook a traditional meal for your guests.

Celebrating Thanksgiving can be as simple as having a game night. Common games such as Uno, Cards Against Humanity or Spades can turn a boring night into an enjoyable one. Take a group of people to the game room in the Student Center and play games of ping-pong, foosball, Pac-Man, and more.

If games aren’t really your forte, another on campus amenity is the Hampton University Museum.

The museum is an institution unique to the campus and a national reserve.

It is the oldest African-American museum in the United States, featuring several cultures of art and objects relating to the history of Hampton. Take a tour and gain an appreciation for the school’s history.

Of course, when people think about Thanksgiving, exercise isn’t usually a correlation. However, many major cities and towns have Turkey Trot races each year.

These races are a great way to raise money for charities in need while incorporating a good workout into your day.

Thanksgiving Day, Virginia Beach is holding their 40th annual Turkey Trot, with 1-mile and 10K races held at 8:15 a.m. and 9 a.m. Go get your run on!

Finally, understand that Thanksgiving is about being thankful. “I think everyone looks forward to the food and people forget that the real reason we celebrate Thanksgiving is to express our thanks for what we have,” said Jackson.

Sometimes we’re so used to routines that we forget we don’t always have to follow the same construct. There doesn’t have to be a big extravaganza to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Simply acknowledging the things you’re thankful for is enough.

Budgeting like a boss

Nylah Powell | Staff Writer

Most people associate college students with financial struggles.

Between getting laundry done, attending events and paying for school amenities, college students have our own list of “bills.” There are, however, ways to maintain money while being on campus.

Some smart ways to begin are being wise when budgeting, investing and spending.

Plan out your spending before wasting your money.

“Planning out my spending is the No. 1 way I save money,” freshman Jordan Benefield said. “Saying, ‘OK, I’m going to spend X amount on groceries this month, X amount on eating out and X amount on miscellaneous things,’ helps me keep track of my spending.”

Another tip is to take advantage of free or inexpensive offerings around school.

The Hampton shuttle service runs on weekends to different places around campus. Use it instead of ordering a Lyft or Uber. It saves students a tremendous amount of money.

Also, try to attend events or activities that are free. Hampton hosts several free events on campus for students, including sporting events. You don’t have to go to the movies or go shopping and spend a ton of money to enjoy yourself. Support your classmates and fellow Hamptonians by attending their free events.

A lot of times, students earn some form of financial aid to assist in paying for school.

This includes scholarships, grants and different types of student loans. In addition to earning financial aid, students may receive some leftover money, known as a “refund check.” This occurs when fees have been paid and there is financial aid remaining. It can be tempting to spend this money carelessly, but this is not the best option. The refund money can really come in handy with buying textbooks, school supplies or even groceries.

Make it a habit of eating in the cafeteria if you live on campus. Most students get tired of eating the same type of food all year, every year. It’s crucial to remember, however, that you have already paid the expense of your meal plan, so avoiding going the cafeteria is a waste of the money already spent. Of course, walking to Tropical Smoothie or ordering from Pizza Hut sounds much tastier, but these splurges must be kept to a minimum.

Look around for job opportunities to get hired and make some extra money. Work study jobs are offered at Hampton for eligible students as part of financial aid packages. With work study, students are given a job on campus, and they earn paychecks for their work. The money must be used toward tuition and fees, but if expenses are already paid in full, then the money can be used toward anything. If you’re eligible for work study, take advantage of the opportunity.

If work study is not an option for you, the next plan could be getting a part-time job somewhere. The only downfall about working part time is that the money can be used however you wish, whenever you wish. Sure, that may sound convenient, but it’s easy to lose track of your money when you have so much freedom with it. Spend it wisely.

Create a budget for your expenses. Recognize the amount of money you have and prioritize accordingly.

“Whenever it’s possible, keep all change you get back and stash it away somewhere,” freshman Kennedy Peace said. “Eventually, if you save it long enough, you can cash the money and will have a significant amount that you didn’t expect to have.”

There are many ways to save money and have money readily available. It’s all about looking around for opportunities and taking advantage of them. If you find tactics that work for you and stick to them, you won’t have to be just another “broke college student.”