A Heart for Service
Thanks to the organizational efforts of Jessica Hall Arrington ’12, M.A.L.S. ’15 and University Chaplain Jenny Call, this year’s Golden Rule Dinner was more successful than ever.
By Beth JoJack ’98
The music is pumping in Ballator Gallery on a chilly Tuesday in March.
Students Pria Jackson ’19 and Kandyce Mayes ’18 are feeling it. They’re lobbying for Jessica Hall Arrington to become the official DJ for all Hollins events. “That’s the consensus,” says Mayes, a psychology major.
Arrington puts real thought into the set lists that play during the meal-packaging sessions she organizes as an assistant community engagement manager for Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization. “You want it upbeat,” she says. “It’s more motivational.”
Jackson and Mayes, who both work as resident assistants at Hollins, join Melissa Hine, assistant dean and director of housing and residence life, and Stephanie Force, assistant director of housing and residence life, around a meal-packaging station. They each take turns adding one ingredient— rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, a Kraft Heinz vitamin packet—to a meal bag.
The atmosphere in the room becomes even more festive when Arrington pauses Kelis’ song “Bossy” to bang an actual gong and announce that the Hollins volunteers have packaged 10,000 meals—one-third of the way to the 30,000-meal goal.
Rise Against Hunger (formerly known as Stop Hunger Now) has recruited volunteers to pack more than 333 million meals to feed the hungry in over 74 countries.
The Hollins students, alumnae, and staff members volunteered to package the meals out of a desire to help those in need, but plenty also wanted to visit with bubbly Arrington, whom they remember fondly from her days as a student and later as dining-hall manager for Meriwether Godsey, the company that provides dining services to Hollins.
When Arrington first arrived at Hollins from her Baltimore, Maryland, home, she quickly became immersed in campus activities. She served as a student chaplain, was cofounder of the Hollins University Praise Dance Team, and was a member of the Black Student Alliance and the Early Transition Program, which pairs students from underrepresented groups with a mentor. The experience of leading in those campus groups pushed Arrington to choose communication studies as her major.
“I realized I really wanted to know more about how I could use my voice to make an impact,” Arrington says. “Because if I can do that for myself, I can be an advocate for others and be a voice for others who aren’t acknowledged as having a voice in society.”
As a communication studies major, Arrington needed to complete an internship. She knew her options would be limited because she didn’t have a car. “I tried to be creative,” she says.
Arrington worked with the head of dining services at Hollins to create an internship. She did so well that the internship became the full-time job of marketing manager for the dining hall, a position Arrington kept for the rest of her tenure at Hollins. After graduating with her M.A.L.S. degree, she was promoted to dining-hall manager and continued that work until the spring of 2017, when she decided to make the leap into the world of nonprofit organizations.
University Chaplain Jenny Call describes Arrington’s passion and spirit as “inspirational.” “She has a heart for service and for engaging others,” Call says.
As a student, Arrington helped to organize the Golden Rule Dinner, an event held each year during which members of the Hollins community gather in the dining hall for a simple meal of soup and bread. Meriwether Godsey makes a donation toward an organization that works to end hunger in honor of each person who eats the less expensive meal. In addition to raising money, organizers hope that the dinners raise awareness of the estimated 815 million people worldwide who struggle with hunger.
The dinners have been held at Hollins at least as far back as the late 1970s and maybe longer, according to Call. This was the first year, since Call has been organizing the event, that a service component was held in conjunction with the dinner. “When Jessica reached out to ask about the possibility,” Call says, “I knew that it would be a wonderful opportunity for us to broaden the impact of the Golden Rule Dinner tradition.”
A Roanoke writer, Beth JoJack writes frequently for Hollins magazine.
President Lawrence has attended a host of alumnae events since she took office last summer. Here are some highlights.
Attending the cocktail party to introduce President Lawrence at the home of Elizabeth Goodman Pritchard ’80:
Debbie Burk Dewees ’73, Mary Boyle Hataway ’61, Katherine Sumpter Rider ’06, Linda Parramore Bath ’59
Shaye Strager Gilmartin ’95, hostess Elizabeth Goodman Pritchard ’80, Harriet Cotten Moran ’60
Past parents Suzanne and Louis Blair with President Lawrence
Host committee members with the president: Elizabeth McDonald Head ’65, Lindsay Daniel Helms ’70, President Lawrence, Chris Butler Ball ’69, Suzanne McCormick Taylor ’64
Suzanne McCormick Taylor ’64 and Nicole Bliss Bryan ’93
Lindsay Daniel Helms ’70 and Deborah Gray Harmon ’57
Host committee members with the president and Suzy Mink 74, senior philanthropic advisor: M.C. Andrews ’86, Loretta Solon Greene ’85, President Lawrence, Caroline Russell ’86, and Mink
New York City
Host committee members: Missy Green ’97, Yafen Liang ’12, Missy Van Buren-Brown ’76, Amanda Miller ’86, Kristin Cowdin ’02, Courtney Chenette ’09, Sarah Holland ’64, Emily Morgan ’79, Margaret “Bebbie” MacCary ’63, Helen Hopkins Miller ’77, Tegan Harcourt ’17, Judy Morrill ’84, Miranda Dennis ’08, Kelsey DeForest ’13, Mim Hayllar Farmakis ’67
From the Alumnae Board
Mark your calendars: Leadership summit coming September 30
The Boyce Lineberger Ansley ’68 Leadership Summit will take place on Sunday, September 30, 2018, the day before Hollins’ annual C3 event. The theme of this fall’s summit is “Designing a Life of Consequence.” All interested alumnae are invited to attend.
A recipient of Hollins’ Distinguished Service Award, Ansley was a committed volunteer on behalf of Hollins and also of her native Atlanta. Louisa Condon Barrett ’68, Alumnae Board member and the late Ansley’s close friend, reflected on the words spoken by Thornton Kennedy, Ansley’s godson, during his eulogy: “She was endlessly caring with people of all generations and all walks of life, and it was this gift that made her such a tremendous leader for Atlanta and beyond.”
If you’re interested in learning how you too can design a life of consequence by integrating volunteerism and leadership, join us in September and #BelikeBoyce.
Alumnae gathered on campus in March for a Boyce Lineberger Ansley Leadership Summit strategy session.
Beth JoJack ’98 interviewed two Hollins alumnae. Read her fascinating profiles >