Students, faculty, and staff come together for traditional Mountain Day of Service

On Wednesday, April 10, the campus community came together to carry on the tradition of Mountain Day of Service. With the participation of 415 students, faculty, and staff, the college contributed more than 1,200 volunteer hours across more than 35 service locations in both Avery and Watauga counties.

The day of service is part of Appalachian Heritage Week, a week dedicated to celebrating Western North Carolina’s rich heritage with traditional Appalachian-themed events, performances, and dinners.

With more than 35 projects, including eight new project sites, volunteers participated in locations including Grandfather Mountain State Park, Horn in the West, Hospitality House, Children’s Hope Alliance, the Mill Pond, Habitat for Humanity and many more. Together, participants cleaned streams and mulched flowerbeds, they organized food pantries and storage spaces, and even assisted in building a home for a family in the community.

Both President Lee King and Director of Campus Life and Student Engagement Hannah Finkelstein expressed their appreciation to volunteers before heading out for the day’s events.

“I love the fact that the back of our shirts we are wearing today says, ‘For the Mountains’ because that is what we are doing,” King said. “We are going out today and serving our community and working to make our High Country a better place. From my heart, I thank you very much for what you are doing and I promise you are going to make a big impact in many people’s lives today.

Faculty, staff, and students also shared what it means to give back to the High Country.

“[Today] is important because we get more out of giving than receiving,” head cycling coach Tim Hall said. “Not only is today an opportunity for us to beautify our surroundings, but there is also a lot of joy and satisfaction that comes from being selfless and helping other people.”

Student La'rel Worman said that even if you are only in the High Country for a short time, it is still worth giving your time to make a difference.

“It shows that you really care for the place that you live in,” she said. “Sure, we might not be here for the rest of our lives, but it is important to build up where you are now so that people in the future can enjoy these places too.”

Following the service portion of the day students, faculty, and staff headed to nearby Wildcat Lake at the Children’s Hope Alliance for lunch and an afternoon of fun.

The tradition of Mountain Day at Lees-McRae goes back to the school’s founder, the Rev. Edgar Tufts. Following a surprise announcement, the entire campus left for a hike to the top of Beech Mountain to enjoy and give appreciation for the High Country Lees-McRae calls home.  

By Nina MastandreaApril 15, 2019
CommunityAcademicsFamiliesCampus LifeAthleticsAlumni