Arkansas Tech University student Hailey Addison wanted to cap her experience in ATU’s University Honors program with a senior project that would make an authentic difference in the Russellville community. She just wasn’t sure how to best pursue her goal.
The answer was hiding inside the cookie jar.
“My grandmother (Shirley Hill) has always had a huge cookie jar collection,” said Addison, who is from Bryant. “She used to have an antique booth when she lived in Missouri. When she moved to Arkansas with my grandfather, they boxed up the cookie jars and the ones that were from the antique booth were left in the garage. She culled through them and found the nearly 1,000 she wanted to keep, and she wanted to donate the other 300 cookie jars.”
Addison turned those surplus cookie jars into a sale that raised $2,290 for Habitat for Humanity of Pope County as part of a marketing campaign she developed to benefit the non-profit organization.
“My goal was to raise $1,000, so when we more than doubled my goal I was thrilled,” said Addison. “The thing I learned most was that things do not always go as planned. It felt like everything was falling apart during the week before the sale, but the staff and board members at Habitat for Humanity of Pope County came through. We pulled it together, and they were really helpful. I was thankful for their willingness to help.”
Addison was mentored through the project by Megan Toland, ATU assistant professor of journalism. Addison hopes the initiative will lead to future ATU University Honors students engaging with Habitat for Humanity of Pope County as a means of fulfilling their volunteerism requirement and giving back to the community.
“My key goal was to build awareness of Habitat for Humanity of Pope County,” said Addison. “I wanted to help them increase their reach in the community and create a connection between their organization and the ATU University Honors program.”
Addison, who is majoring in marketing strategy, will graduate from ATU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in May 2023. She is also pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree through ATU. Due to an accelerated track that is allowing her to take master’s degree courses while simultaneously completing her bachelor’s degree, Addison will complete her MBA in May 2024.
“I was so impressed with Hailey’s organization skills and preparation beforehand, giving 200 percent, her awesome attitude, welcoming the guests and just all-around polish with the public,” said Ruth Weatherford, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Pope County. “Hailey definitely hit it out of the park with this project. The board of directors and myself are very appreciative of Hailey’s hard work and efforts to help us. We know she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.”
According to the ATU catalog, the University Honors program provides “an enriched intellectual experience for students of outstanding educational talents and leadership potential.” Goals of the program include fostering rational inquiry, critical thinking and analytical skills.
Applicants for ATU University Honors must be admitted to Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, have a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.5 or higher and either be in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class or have an ACT composite score of 27 or higher. Qualified applicants for the honors program become engaged in a competitive selection process that includes a written essay and a personal interview on campus.
Participants in ATU University Honors enjoy benefits such as stipends above and beyond any academic scholarships ATU has designated for them, preferred pre-registration and housing selection, living in the ATU University Honors living and learning community, individually directed study with members of the faculty and special recognition at commencement.
The annual deadline to apply for the program is noon on Dec. 15.
Learn more about ATU University Honors at www.atu.edu/honors.