Pulse scholarship members are getting involved with several off-campus programs for elementary and middle school students this semester.
Under the advisement of Prentice Ashford, director of the Office for Multicultural Enrichment, the scholarship group is looking to enrich the lives of young students by giving back to the community.
“Since Pulse has transitioned from the Center for Building Community to the Office of Multicultural Enrichment, we had to figure out a way to incorporate Pulse into the greater mission of OME,” Ashford said.
Pulse is an on-campus scholarship program intended to unite students across campus through a speaker series, community time within groups and volunteer opportunities.
The scholarship requires recipients to maintain a 3.0 GPA and complete at least 15 hours of community service each semester.
In addition to the Pulse scholarship progam, Ashford and OME oversee organizations like the Black Students’ Association, Hispanos Unidos, African Students’ Association, Chinese Student Scholars Association, Third Culture Kids and Virtuous Sisterhood.
In one of the after-school volunteer opportunities, Pulse partners with the City of Abilene.
“We reached out to the City of Abilene after-school program,” Ashford said. “We have four different groups of students that go to after-school recreation centers and play with the kids and do homework and mentor them.”
Pulse scholarship group member Ashton Pruitt, junior pre-law and criminal justice major from Denton, has worked with the City of Abilene after-school program at Sears Park since last semester.
“We play games with them, do homework and give them a snack,” Pruitt said. “We basically give them a safe place to be in between the time of being out of class and when their parents get home from work.”
Pulse is also working alongside Communities in Schools, an organization focused on providing students with community support and empowerment to stay in school, with the MANN Up program at Mann Middle School.
The program assigns college volunteers as mentors to middle school students. Each mentor is paired with two middle school students and meet at least once a week.
“Our guys are essentially lunch buddies,” Ashford said. “We send six guys and six girls, and they’re paired up with two kids from sixth to eighth grade and eat lunch with them.”
This is the program’s pilot semester, allowing directors to evaluate the program’s strengths, weaknesses and ways to improve at the end of the semester.
Ashford said he and Communities in Schools are hoping to make the program an opportunity for students each year and that these kind of programs are essential to building good character within Pulse students as they give back to the community around ACU.
“I think it’s so important for college students to get out and see the need to get outside of themselves,” he said. “They get so busy, but it’s amazing to go into a life, especially the lives of little kids, and see what kind of impact that makes.”