Interior design, merchandising and hospitality students were among the participants during this year’s event and played active roles in making it a success.
Interior design students refinished furniture for a design competition. Both interior and fashion merchandising students created table centerpieces, and hospitality administration students prepared and served the meal. All majors from the School of Human Sciences assisted that evening greeting, taking tickets, selling and serving cakes, and selling and working the door prizes and raffle tickets.
“One of the reasons we get all of the students in the School of Human Sciences involved is because we want them to know what it’s like to be active in their community,” said Sally Ann Swearingen, associate professor in the School of Human Sciences. “We are not just teaching a major. We are teaching students how to incorporate their talents and skills to serve others.”
The annual fundraiser benefited Love in the Name of Christ, a nonprofit Christian organization in Nacogdoches dedicated to serving local citizens in need. Chairished Blessings featured dinner, a silent auction and a design competition.
“This event’s goal is to raise money for the projects Love INC provides for the community,” Swearingen said. “One of the projects is raising money to help construct a shower and laundry facility.”
Prior to the event, SFA students helped set up tables by creating centerpieces. Many also helped assemble gift baskets as auction items.
“Working this event has taught me a lot about what goes on behind the scenes of a project,” said Calli Blankenship, senior interior design major from Livingston, Texas. “Making connections and networking with people to help you is so important.”
Blankenship has participated in Chairished Blessings before and said this year she helped the interior design students refinish furniture for the design competition. However, for Houston senior Yessenia Ramirez, a hospitality major focusing on travel and tourism, this was her first time to participate.
“The tourism industry is all about bringing people to visit different communities, so I feel hosting an event as big as this one is a great way to do that,” Ramirez said. “Hospitality involves service to people, and this is a great example of what we will be doing later and a great experience for us.”
By Kasi Dickerson, senior marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University.