TJCL Torch 2018 Fall Torch - Page 10

service s e r v i c e The service project at the 2018 NJCL convention involved bringing plastic shopping bags to the convention and weaving them into sleeping mats, which were then distributed to homeless people in the greater Cincinnati area. Some people began saving their shopping bags after this project was announced. Others, like my family, already had a sizable collection of old plastic bags sitting in the pantry, destined for some unknown use. With the announcement of the service project, suddenly those forgotten shopping bags had a purpose. Some delegates brought great heaps of bags, others just a few, but all donations were appreciated. Once we got to Miami University, the girls took their bags to our 2nd VP Hope Montgomery, and the boys took their bags to me. All the bags from Tennessee eventually made their way to our room in the basement of Stonebridge Hall. Thus, one of my roommates and I began the arduous task of counting the bags. We eventually gave up after the floor was covered with bags; we had counted over 700. On Tuesday, we had the first service session. This mainly consisted of cutting the handles off the bags and cutting down a line on the remainder of the bag, so the bag became a loop. A good number of Tennessee delegates attended, along with many more delegates from across the nation. On Wednesday, we began to weave together the bags into long strands. Though the process was initially confusing, most everyone caught on and began working through their strands (which in my opinion looked like a baguette). Thursday’s service project session was a bit more crowded and confusing, but it was productive nonetheless. Many people were still working on braiding the bags together, and others were beginning to make the actual mats. Thankfully, there was an extra session on Friday where things wrapped up. The service project wasn’t a dull event where JCLers slaved away with the bags. It was quite the opposite. It was a lively crowd filled with music and people getting to know each other. In those service sessions, we saw this convention’s theme come to life: “Ego vos hortari tantum possum ut amicitiam omnibus rebus humanis anteponatis,” that is, “I urge you, as much as I am able, to place friendship above all human issues.” Joy and laughter rang through the room where the project was taking place, as well as universally liked music. More than this convention’s theme, I think the quote from which next year’s convention theme comes definitely showed itself in the happy labors of the JCLers here: “Bees are not of a solitary nature, as eagles are, but are like human beings.” Elliott Clark 2018-2019 TJCL Secretary