On Saturday, Feb. 8, members of the Honors Students Association (HSA) met at the Florence Area Humane Society (FAHS) to pitch in and help improve the community one animal at a time.
A group of HSA students gathered together on a Saturday morning to spend the day serving the local community as part of their annual service project program. They also participate each year in the Arts International Festival by hosting a book drive in which all of the proceeds go back to the Florence community. The organization wants to keep their service projects local as a way to make it easier on students traveling, commuting and so that it is available to all students in the area.
Stephen Yokim, senior accounting major and HSA president, and Breanna Robertson, sophomore pre-nursing major and vice president of HSA, helped organize the annual event at the FAHS. They both pitched in by washing dishes, washing dogs and cleaning trails of debris.
“The overall mission [of HSA] is to create a student that performs all around,” Yokim said. “To be a well-rounded person, you must give back to the community.”
“We do these service projects to stress that we are more than an academic society,” Robertson said.
In their mission to prove they are more than academic, students split up into two groups. One group spent the first part of the morning moving fallen limbs, logs, leaves and rocks from the dog trails in the woods. The second group spent the day inside washing dog bowls, cleaning dishes, picking up inside the shelter and bathing the different canine residents.
Scott Scruggs, senior math major, was part of the first group sent outside to clean the trails.
“I just wanted to help out and volunteer,” Scruggs said. “It’s really important to get involved however you can in the community.”
The FAHS currently houses 182 pets (mainly dogs and cats) but will take any pets that are brought as long as they have the equipment required to look after them. Wendy Wilton, shelter supervisor, is responsible for overseeing all the animals in the shelter.
“We take any pets brought in, strays that are found and we run animal control around Florence,” Wilton said. The shelter is always looking for volunteers to get involved. For those who love being around animals, the FAHS welcomes help like that provided by the Francis Marion University HSA. For those who are unable to help out directly with the animals, the shelter is always in need of volunteers to assist with transport, fundraising, organization and donations.
“We would gladly appreciate any donations: monetary, pet food, pet treats, bedding, toys, washing detergent and leashes,” Wilton said.
For students who would like to learn more about joining the HSA should contact Dr. Tuttle in the English department. The HSA will allow students to gain community service time and will help students to graduate with university honors. Students who would like to get involved with the FAHS through volunteering or donating can contact the FAHS at (843) 669-2921. The shelter is located at 1434 South McCurdy Road in Florence.