Books teach us about history, challenge our perspectives and provide a gateway for imagination and wonder. Books add value to our lives, and one Rogers State University class made sure every Claremore junior high student had a new book to read.
The Books for Zebras collection drive donated 1200 books to Will Rogers Junior High last month. The book drive was part of a psychology and sociology class project. Assistant Professor Christi Mackey asked her Social Problems class to identify and solve a problem in the community.
Kurt LeVan, an American history major and junior from Claremore, proposed a book drive to his classmates.
“Everyone seemed receptive to the idea of a book drive. We just wanted to do some good for the students in our community. There are book drives and activity funding for elementary and high school aged students. We wanted to make sure junior high students knew we care,” LeVan said.
LeVan is currently the President of RSU’s Student Veterans Association, a student organization focused on active service after time in uniform. The Student Veterans Association helped deliver the books to the students.
The class surpassed their goal of 750 books with the help of charity groups, individual and anonymous donors. Will Rogers Junior High principal James Young was impressed with the student’s campaign and was thrilled to receive the surprise donation.
“This is the first time that I am aware that someone within our community has donated so many books to our students,” Young said. “I was expecting around 750 but was totally shocked when the RSU students came in with more than 1200 books. What an overachievement to say the least. We are super appreciative that Rogers State students have our students’ interest at heart.”
Autumn Rosenthal, a sophomore psychology major from Owasso, created content for the Books for Zebras social media campaign. She enjoyed the experience to build up her community.
“My parents have always taught me the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community. Volunteer work shaped me as a young adult. It is important to help those around you,” Rosenthal said.
Community service and engagement is an integral part of education at RSU. The university promotes and encourages students, faculty and staff to engage in activities that serve communities in Claremore and beyond. RSU offers several opportunities for all students, faculty and staff to get involved in community-based and volunteer activities.
“We give back because it’s the right thing to do. I strive to give back and conduct these projects whenever I can just because there is a need,” LeVan said.