Service Through Diversity

The Nicholls State University NAACP Chapter has made its mark through service linked to the organization’s mission of promoting unity, diversity and equality on campus and within the local community.

Through the chapter’s community service, which includes voting initiatives and various programs targeting both young children and college students, members have gained a greater connection to Nicholls. For President Cydneé Mills, a senior dietetics major, her involvement in the chapter allows her to feel more at home on campus. Mills says that Nicholls’ NAACP chapter is so much more than just another organization on campus. It is a family.

“We like to consider ourselves as a family,” says Mills. “We help promote education. If members need help with a class, they can come to us. And if we can’t help, we will find someone who can.”

The chapter’s help extends beyond its members, however. Nicholls’ NAACP chapter members also serve the local community. For example, Mills says the chapter’s executive board helps with informing the community about parish elections many residents might not be familiar with. Every year, the chapter partners with the Lafourche Parish NAACP to help annually with their scholarship banquet. Tiffany Augustine, a senior culinary arts major, and Kilah Jacobs, a senior advanced mathematics major, chair community service initiatives for the Nicholls chapter.

“I want people unfamiliar with the organization to know that even though the NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that does not mean we are specifically a Black organization. We are a diverse group, and diversity and unity of all races are what our founders wanted to promote when they established the organization,” says Augustine.

Though the pandemic has limited the chapter’s community service efforts, Mills says that the members still reach out to the community in any way that they can. Proceeds from Nicholls’ Give-N-Day initiative this year will play a role in ensuring that the chapter can continue its programs.

“We really focused on winning the Give-N-Day challenges and received funds that will help support programs for a long time,” Mills says.

As community service co-chairs, Augustine and Jacobs are leading plans for a toy drive and a monthly reading plan with the Little Colonels Academy. They are also finalizing plans for a “Squeaky Clean for Quarantine” Car Wash and a “Textbook Donation Drive” for the Fall 2020 semester.

“Our upcoming toy drive is to benefit children who don’t always get toys because of many different reasons,” says Jacobs. “We plan to bring smiles to the faces of kids in the community. I see this toy drive as something that is like a milestone to a kid.”

“We like to consider ourselves as a family. We help promote education. If members need help with a class, they can come to us. And if we can’t help, we will find someone who can.” – Cydneé Mills

Jacobs says that the monthly readings will also be beneficial to young children.

The “Squeaky Clean for Quarantine” Car Wash serves as a fundraiser and helps to support programs such as the chapter’s annual fashion show held on campus, says Augustine. According to Augustine, the textbook drive is in partnership with Nicholls’ campus library. The initiative will provide a way for students who may not be able to afford their books to still have access to them.

Members earn service hours for their role in the chapter’s community service initiatives.

“We keep a check up on our members for volunteering hours. It gives people something to look forward to,” says Jacobs. “In some communities, people go without and there is no one out there that cares enough for them to give back. I want the people of any community to see that there is someone out there who cares for them.”

Augustine agrees that community service is an important aspect of the NAACP’s purpose.

“Community service is something that everyone should be proud of doing, especially young adults because elders may not be able to give the same amount of help that we can,” says Augustine. “Community service is not for recognition or an award, but for the feeling of it. To know that you have helped someone or something without it being for anything monetary is the reason why I love doing it so much and I’m sure others do as well!”

– Dr. Shaniece Bickham