This year the Student Association (SA) formed a new committee of students focused on Searcy and White County outreach. Their first meeting was last Thursday, Sept. 14, during which they discussed ideas and projects with the vision of connecting Harding with the surrounding community.
Senior Davis Nossaman began this committee to reach out to others beyond Harding.
“Last semester when I was thinking about running for the SA, one of my biggest things was that I was only going to run if I had a real purpose or agenda or something to do,” Nossaman said. “One of the things that me and my group of close friends have been really passionate about is trying to get Harding to spread out a little bit more and be more involved in White County and Searcy. That was kind of where that all came about. I thought, ‘I wish one of the committees took that on,’ so those worlds just collided, and the committee was formed.”
The main project the committee hopes to complete this year is a community garden. Senior Ben Moore is heading this idea, offering a small plot of land for the project, which will include a greenhouse structure where Harding students and Searcy citizens can plant seeds both of produce and of relationship. Senior Michalie Brown, who helped organize the Gin Creek Project during Impact, will also play a large role in the development of this new project.
“Originally the community garden was an idea that we had for Impact, but it ended up not being able to work,” Brown said. “Harding does a great job at reaching out on days like Bisons for Christ and service project days that the social clubs plan, but as a university, we thought it was really important that we make an effort to reach out and to be friends with the community around us.”
Beyond the community garden, the committee members are keeping their eyes open for ways to unite Harding with White County. Junior Gracie Olderman, a transfer student, plans to bring ideas from her previous school to help Harding get connected with Searcy.
“We are trying to get a booth at Get Down Downtown so that we can just try to be aware of things that are going on in the community, how we can help and and let Harding know what’s going on in White County too,” Olderman said. “We just want to reach out to people, whether that’s like talking to youth ministers or churches or people like that.”
This new committee gives Harding the opportunity to represent Christ beyond campus.
“Searcy is a wonderful place,” Brown said, “but sometimes we just get very focused on the little bubble that we are in and we don’t see the great opportunities that are right in front of us: to love on our neighbors and just have a greater community other than the one here at Harding.”