Amanda Dever named College's second AmeriCorps rep

The fact that so many men, women and children go hungry on a regular basis in this community has weighed on the mind of Amanda Dever since she came to Marietta at the beginning of the fall semester.

The working poor, the elderly, the single-parent homes and the unemployed young adults and older adults often find themselves at the mercy of social programs such as the many food pantries in Washington County and other food programs designed to alleviate the suffering of the poor. This year, in addition to its many other forms of community service, Marietta College has pledged an additional commitment to battling hunger in this region. As the AmeriCorps VISTA, Dever will spearhead many of the programs associated with this pledge.

Dever is the second VISTA to serve from Marietta College’s campus. She fills the void left after Renee Steffen completed a two-year stint for the College. Dever recently graduated from Denison University with degrees in English literature and international studies. While a student, she studied abroad in New Delhi, India, where she observed people living in extreme poverty. She decided to enter the AmeriCorps program after she visited with the VISTA at Denison and learned the program was centered on activism, advocacy, social justice and service. She was attracted to Marietta’s program when she learned of the College’s efforts to alleviate hunger.

“With the mentoring of Dr. Tanya Judd Pucella, I have been keeping busy by learning about the community, speaking with students and working to spread the word about the College’s hunger focus this year,” Dever said. “As I have been learning about the past service work done by students, I am very impressed with the College’s unwavering dedication to volunteerism and service.”

Since the summer of 2007, the College has provided 33,500 hours of volunteer work in the community.

“The impact that our students have on their community is enormous,” said Judd Pucella, who is the Director of Civic Engagement in the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. “In the coming academic year, Marietta College has decided to focus on access to food, or hunger, as a social issue to address in our community. We already have three projects in the works that will be developed under Amanda’s leadership, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Dever said she has met with students to discuss hunger issues in this area and to generate interest in service work for the coming year.

“One of the major projects for the year will be to implement the Great Cities Great Service Grant that the College has received to address local hunger,” Dever said. “Through the Empty Bowls (an annual fundraising event that benefits the food pantries), community garden and community meals projects, members of the campus community will have many opportunities to get involved in this year’s hunger focus.”