Golz wins THEC's Love Award for community service

Jennifer Golz's vocation is teaching English, but her avocation is helping hundreds of people, young and old, learn the way to a better life.

Golz, a Tennessee Tech University English instructor, is being honored with the Rep. Harold Love Outstanding Community Involvement Award, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s highest award for community service, because she leads volunteer efforts in and out of the classroom.

"She is an academician and a community servant in the true sense," said TTU President Bob Bell. "The quality of life in our community is heightened because of the insights she puts into action."

In 2001, Golz began asking her English 1020 students to volunteer at local health care centers at least 10 hours each semester. Golz’s volunteer work requirement came in response to students who wanted to write about real life in their essays. She suspected her students meant they wanted to write about their friends and their hobbies, but she decided to introduce them to the real world of volunteer work.

Since then, students have donated more than 3,000 hours of community service in this course. In addition to their regular visits in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, students have performed with musical instruments, sung for the residents, called Bingo, participated in exercise activities, learned knitting and crochet, and assisted with many other activities.

In 2003, Golz received the Tennessee Health Care Association’s “Better Life Award," which recognizes the accomplishments of an individual not affiliated with the nursing home profession who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of long-term care.

Beyond this signature project, Golz volunteers with many community organizations and holds offices in several. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and has served as adviser to TTU's Omega Phi Alpha Service Sorority. She has participated in the Upper Cumberland's Annual Alzheimer's Association Walk and the Upper Cumberland Senior Expo. She also has volunteered with Boy Scout Merit Badge University.

Golz also participates in an ongoing project called "Preserving Women's Lives," which records for historic preservation the memories of women who lived through the Great Depression and World War II.

Previous award winners from Tennessee Tech include sociology professor Ada Haynes, earth sciences professor Wayne Leimer, decision sciences and management professor Stuart (Doc) Wells, curriculum and instruction professor Margaret Phelps, health and physical education professor LeBron Bell, basic business adviser Katie Kumar and students Stephanie Ward, Lucas Yeary, Noreen Grisolano, Anna LaBar, Destiny Locke and Genetta Gibson.

Previous staff winners include Sue Ellen Carter, Mary Ann Cummins, Pat King, and Gay Shepherd of University Police.

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