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Milligan students serving the local community

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (March 10, 2009) – For more than 140 years, Milligan College’s unique mission has been to educate men and women as Christian servant-leaders, whatever their profession. This semester, students in the communications, business and computer information systems areas, among others, are gaining valuable work experience while learning what it means to be “called” to lives of service.

Computer majors are designing websites and building and networking computers. Communication majors are developing promotional videos, and business students are providing tax assistance to area residents, all free of charge.

Three years ago Dr. Carolyn Carter, professor of computer information systems (CIS), incorporated a “training through service” model as part of her capstone software engineering course. Soon other professors in the CIS area followed suit — working with students to build and network computers for local churches and small businesses.

“Small businesses and non-profits cannot always afford web design, new computers or technical support, so this partnership has provided them with valuable resources,” explained Carter. “For the students, it is a great way to gain work experience, to have something tangible for their portfolios, and to give back to the community. It also is a great way to network for future employment.”

One of the student volunteer projects is developing a website for Carter County.

“The desire of Carter County is to operate as efficiently as possible, and the Internet has become an integral part of most of our lives,” said Carter County Major Johnny Holder. “The resources that this talented group of Milligan College students is providing to the county will enhance our ability to continue to move forward in a rapidly advancing technical world.”

Likewise, business majors are using their skills to help others. Since January, three students have provided free tax assistance to low income families. To date, they have completed tax returns for 19 families.

“In addition to securing a tax return for these families, the students provide a direct savings to the client by completing the tax return free of charge,” explained Dr. Harold Branstrator, assistant professor of business administration. “We plan to expand the program next year to include multiple service locations and offer financial planning assistance to our clients.”

Senior communications major Adam Chapman and a group of his peers are working on a promotional video for Good Samarian Ministries, a non-profit located in Johnson City, Tenn., whose mission is to provide “relief for the poor, the sick and the destitute.”

“What’s interesting about this video is that we are interviewing some of the Good Samaritan staff who have been in the same shoes as those they serve,” said Chapman. “All they could do was pray for help and now they are helping others. It’s very inspiring!”

For Chapman, there was never a desire to be a vocational minister. Working with Good Samaritan helped him realize that you can positively impact your community and people’s lives in any profession.

“I have really never had the desire to be a minister, but through my work with Good Samaritan, I learned that my abilities as a communications major can help others,” said Chapman. “I am able to use my passion for film and my God given talents to impact lives. That’s the best part about it!”

According to Good Samaritan Volunteer Coordinator Glen Birchfield, the student volunteers are a tremendous help to the organization.

“With the current state of the economy, there is no way that we could hire additional staff,” said Birchfield. “These students fill a critical need and are a pleasure to work with.”

Milligan provides students with a quality education and the encouragement to use that education to make a difference in the lives of others. Exemplifying their motto, these volunteer projects are just a few of the ways Milligan students are helping to “Raise YOURWorld.”

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MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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