SE students to participate in Presidential Partners Project

By Nicole Diseker

The Presidential Partners Project will be held Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. at the Glen D. Johnson Student Union Gym. This event gives SE organizations a chance to interact with Durant Middle School students during a night of holiday activities.

This event was founded in 1990 and was held at Nickels and Dimes until it closed, then moved to the bowling alley, and is currently being held in SE’s student union, according to Liz Howard, student life coordinator.

Faculty members of Durant Middle School choose the students invited to this event. According to Howard, these students may be foster children, from a family with little income or may have parental problems.

Presidential Partners, a service project for the Durant community, throws this party each year in order to give middle school students a chance to interact with college students, while also giving SE students the opportunity to spend an evening with the children and remember what it was like being in the forth to sixth grades.

Student organizations sponsor children by buying a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart. The Presidents Leaders Class, American Chemical Society and Alpha Chi are some of those supporting this event this year.

Liz Howard participated in Presidential Partners during her time as a student at SE.

“They have this idea of us as ‘Oh my gosh, you’re in college. You’re so cool.’ I can guarantee you that I was not the coolest girl in college, but to them we were the coolest kids ever,” said Howard.

Howard hopes that getting to interact with college students at this age will give these middle school students the idea that college is where they want to go after high school.

According to Howard, this event gives middle school students the chance to ask lots of questions about college. They ask about student activities and classes, if they go to parties, what it’s like living in co-ed dorms or if the classes are hard.

“I think it’s a little bit of an eye-opener for SE students and reminds them of where they were in middle school. These kids sometimes tell you the truth without even thinking about it,” said Howard.

Last year a middle school student asked one of the sorority members if she could take a whole pizza home to her family.

“She said they hadn’t eaten anything but beans and rice all week and she thought her family would really like it,” said Howard. “The sorority member said yes, of course, please take more.”