Desktop News | March 2023
Engage Alabama, a program for community projects, brought together students, faculty and staff at The University of Alabama to positively impact the environment, arts and rural health in Montevallo, Camden and Uniontown. The program aimed to foster meaningful relationships with the communities served and to create a lasting impact.
Prior to embarking on their all-day acts of service, a group of thirty-four students and three faculty advisors eagerly convened for an interest session. The group was captivated by the opportunity to learn about the communities they were serving. During the session, they were introduced to the history of these towns, while also receiving an overview of how they would be serving these communities.
The dedication of the students in Montevallo was truly inspiring. Despite the relentless rain that soaked the ground, the group remained determined to accomplish their mission of restoring the trails throughout the town. The group did things such as pull weeds and even mowed the wet grass to ensure that the trails were safe and accessible for all who wished to use them. After successfully completing their work on the trails, they seized the opportunity to immerse themselves in the town and engage in discussions on topics such as economic growth and environmental preservation. In addition, the students visited historical landmarks and learned about the resources that could contribute to the city’s development.
Students employed creative measures to capture the unique character and spirit of Camden and Uniontown through murals. During the process, they engaged in meaningful interactions with the residents, immersing themselves in the area’s rich history and culture. The resulting murals not only showcased the artistic talent of the students, but also served as a source of pride and inspiration for the entire community. In addition to the art project in Camden, the group provided a wide range of essential healthcare services to the local community. Their services included maintenance healthcare, as well as vital medical tests such as blood pressure and glucose tests.
After the day of service, the faculty, staff and students joined together to reflect on their experiences. The group shared their personal accounts, the challenges they faced and the impact they made on the communities served. They acknowledged that their efforts are just the beginning, but they hoped that their actions would inspire others to do the same. It was an opportunity for the group to reflect on their personal growth, celebrate their accomplishments and recommit to their goal of making a positive impact in the world.
“I think that it is really nice to be able to come into those communities and create fellowship and artwork…” said Engage Alabama participant Jazmyn Issac during the reflection. “Because that sparks hope and togetherness.”
Montevallo, Camden and Uniontown have their own unique needs and challenges. Engage Alabama highlights the importance of engaging with a community to gain understanding and the transformative impact the UA community can have in West Alabama.