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Lipscomb students get their hands dirty for MLK service day

Gray Line Tennessee shuttle bus outside Allen Arena

Lipscomb students board the Gray Line shuttle bus parked outside Allen Arena on Saturday morning.

The weekend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated typically conjures thoughts of rest and excitement among students. However, on Saturday, January 13, eight students boarded a shuttle and headed to different places in Nashville to help the community.

Some planted trees. Others harvested okra and shelled black-eyed peas. Food and toiletries for those in need were packaged by another group. Although the day of service offered many different opportunities, the spirit among students remained the same: honoring the legacy of Dr. King.

One of the participants representing Lipscomb was Natalie Blickensderfer, a junior and business major from Dallas, Texas.

Blickensderfer, who is no stranger to community service, saw the opportunity and knew it was something she wanted to be part of. “Last year was fun.” She shared, “I helped pick up trash in the Nashville zoo.” This year, she anticipated Tree Planting at Trevecca Urban Farm, since she yearned to work outside despite the freezing temperatures.

Once she reached the site, she was given a tour of the land which was abundant with animals, crops and various types of trees. She and the team she traveled with covered the ground surrounding the trees with leaves to insulate them from the cold and help them better retain water. Despite her fingernails being sullied with dirt, she wore a large smile.

Natalie Blickensderfer after a long day’s work at Trevecca Urban Farm.

Meanwhile, freshmen Joana Jernigan and Grace Morgan joined with sophomore Jennifer Ibarra to work with the Nashville Food Project. Together, they harvested black-eyed peas from their pods to prepare them for planting in the spring.

Grace Morgan, a French and sustainability double major, is interested in food and agriculture. “I could see myself working somewhere like that,” she said.

Students unite to organize supplies at Churchwell Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Abani Varner-Williams/Sodexo

Lipscomb partnered with other schools in Nashville to make this service day possible.