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SFA Phi Upsilon Omicron students host Valentine's Day event for nursing home, assisted living residents

February 20, 2017 - University Marketing Communications
Stephen F. Austin State University Phi Upsilon Omicron member Jessalyn Welch serves salads to guests attending a 1950s-themed Valentine's Day event. Recently, students in SFA's School of Human Sciences Phi U honor society partnered with Carolyn Johnson of Heart to Heart Hospice to host the annual community service project at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University students recently flashed back to the 1950s by hosting a themed Valentine's Day event for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Nacogdoches.

Students in SFA's School of Human Sciences Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society partnered with Carolyn Johnson of Heart to Heart Hospice to host the annual community service project at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

Bethany Craft, vice president of Phi U and a senior food, nutrition and dietetics major from Houston, explained the goal behind the project.

"Our mission was to make our guests' lives and experiences a little bit better," Craft said. "We wanted to bring them here and give them something to make them feel special and something that is reminiscent of times they may have enjoyed."

During the event, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity members escorted guests into the fellowship hall where decorations transformed the room into another decade. Students prepared lunch for guests, which included cauliflower soup, salad, sausage and cheese quiche, and root beer floats. Jon Jackson, pianist, and the Rhythm Rocker Cloggers group also provided live entertainment.

"This event taught me that everyone is important, and we all have the power to touch people's lives in our community," Craft said. "It is important for us to be a community and to build up others."

Phi U members leveraged their talents and skills to orchestrate the event. For example, interior design majors decorated the facility, and food, nutrition and dietetics majors prepared the meal. Students divided into committees to plan the party, which included invitations, menu, decorations, entertainment and a photo booth.

Dr. Mitzi Perritt, professor of human sciences and a Phi U adviser, was pleased with the participation and success. Students will send a report, PowerPoint and photos to the national Phi U office to compete with other societies for the best community project.

"I am so proud of the students for the initiative they've shown in preparing for the event," Perritt said. "We are so grateful to Carolyn Johnson for giving us a good venue to complete our professional project this year."

Johnson helped recruit nursing homes and assisted living facilities to participate in the event.

"It's great to see that we can bridge the generational gap," Johnson said.

Event sponsors included A Pineywoods Home Health Care and Home Services, Garrison Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, Westward Trails Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Geriatric Care Solutions, The Hospice of East Texas, Rock Haven Nursing Home, Twin Lakes Rehabilitation and Care Center, Angels Care Home Health, Willowbrook Nursing Center, Meadowview Place, Accolade Homecare and Hospice, Happy at Home - Home Healthcare, Texas Home Health, Senior Care of Stallings Court, Oceans Behavioral Hospital, Heart to Heart Hospice, Americare EMS, Carter Healthcare, Oak Manor Nursing Home, Cigna, and The Arbor Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Dr. Jennifer Newquist, assistant professor, and Lynsey Cornites, clinical instructor, also serve as Phi U advisers.