ASTRA club encourages volunteer work

If you’re looking to help wrap Christmas gifts for children who might not get to experience the joy of this holiday season, or make sandwiches for the Salvation Army, the newly chartered ASTRA club might be for you.

ASTRA is an acronym for Ability, Service, Training, Responsibility and Achievement.

The club is for people who are interested in doing community service projects around the local area.

Along with a book drive for Maggie Lee For Good Day, ASTRA has participated in other interesting service events.

Vice president, junior business management major Hannah Gardenhire, said, “We joined up with Altrusa, which is a sister club. It’s kind of the backbone for ASTRA. They were doing a Feed My Sheep (project) for the Salvation Army, and they needed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So, we got together and made over 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and those were donated to the Salvation Army.”

Other planned events range from a Nov. 17 Belton Dam trash cleanup to assisting with the Angel Tree Program.

Campus adviser Traci Squarcette is an active member of Altrusa of Temple. She also sponsors the ASTRA club and acts as a mentor-liaison between both clubs.

Squarcette said students can learn much about working together through group involvement toward helping the community.

Any currently enrolled UMHB student under the age of 25 can become a member of the club, and membership is free.

Junior business administration major Joanna Leath is president of the organization. She hopes students will be more responsive to the needs of society.

“Through community service, they can know how to be better members of the community. They’ll have awareness of problems that are going around in their community that they can help out with, whether it just be donating books or meeting a need,” she said.

During the spring semester, the organization will mentor children between the ages of 12 to 17 for the new youth ASTRA club that is going to be chartered through the Conservatory Program on campus.

Gardenhire thinks the selfless acts ASTRA is involved in will benefit future members of the club.

She said, “I think sometimes, especially when you’re in college, you focus a lot on your studies and yourself. I think ASTRA is really trying to push that, through our club, you can learn leadership skills.”

ASTRA meetings are held every other Thursday in the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts Lecture Hall from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, contact Joanna Leath at, or visit the club’s official ASTRA group Facebook page.

Author: April Littleton

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