FRANKFORT — Kentucky State University (KSU) students launched a community service event Monday afternoon called “Dine with Dignity” at the ACCESS Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter. Associate Professor of Speech Communication Dr. Shannon Brogan helped several of the students from her Persuasive Speaking and Speech classes put together ideas and connections for the community service project.

“Dine with Dignity” allowed students to host a soul food lunch to visitors at the soup kitchen. The goal was to bring humanity to the soup kitchen by adding decorations, entertainment, and quality service.  The menu included collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and Hawaiian rolls. Each table was decorated with black tablecloths and pink floral centerpieces.  Students collected supplies and donations from faculty and staff members to pull off this event.

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Dr. Brogan partnered with Janelle Hager, research associate in aquaponics at KSU, to gather the vegetables, which were grown at the KSU Research Facility and handpicked by students before the event.

“I feel like this event was the perfect opportunity for students to give back to our community, but there is also the humanity aspect,” said Dr. Brogan. “It’s also the communication aspect where students had to work together and learn how to effectively communicate with others.”

More than 35 students participated in this event as well as faculty and staff members, including Sophia Ellis, Irma Johnson, Andrea Raglin, Dr. Stephanie Cramer, Ray Bankston, and Officer Ramon Torres.  KSU also partnered with English teacher Tierelee Logan, who works at The Academy in the Franklin County Public Schools. Logan has been working with Dr. Brogan for several years.  Every semester, Dr. Brogan opens her classroom up to high school students.

“Dr. Brogan has been wonderful to work with. She is committed to making the class format flexible to our needs,” Logan said. “I believe the partnership we have to date with KSU is invaluable, and we are hopeful that our involvement with the university will continue to grow in the coming years.”

IMG_8716 The Academy students were Aaliyah Jacobs, Keegan Gross, and Malachi David. All of the students helped serve more than 85 meals to families at the soup kitchen.

“I am really happy to be a part of this service project,” said Aaliyah Jacobs. “I’m happy I was granted the opportunity to make dining special for those who eat here regularly.”

Students are also planning to continue this service project again in April and May. Hager has already gathered the new menu for the next two events.

“Our next goal is to plan to have a fish fry event.  We want to be able to gather our foods from the Kentucky State Research Facility,” she said. “I think this will be great to have students again come and help us to prepare meals and also get an inside look at what we do at the research facility.”

— Alea Cardenas