It's called the "Tamikea Meter" and the red line monitoring donations was off the charts. Tamikea Swaringer worked in Student Dining Center, where day in and day out she greeted you with her beaming smile. students, faculty and staff who pass through its doors may not have known her personally, but they know who she is, and were devastated by the tragic news.
In November she was meeting her children at the bus stop when a driver jumped the curb and hit her. The injuries were so severe, Tamikea, a single mother of three, had to have her foot amputated.
In an outpouring of heartfelt concern, the Student Government Association (SGA) took on her cause, calling fundraising efforts JWU Cares — Tamikea.
"Being able to help Tamikea has taught me that life is more than just class, meetings and work," said Chris Shepard '12, SGA president. "This unfortunate event has given me the opportunity to reach out to fellow students, faculty and staff. We need to put our arms around and embrace one of our family members in need."
It is just what JWU does. "When Hurricane Katrina struck, JWU Cares was established to mobilize our resources and respond to the needs of our neighbors," said Bernice Parenti, director of community outreach. "We've activated JWU Cares for a number of other tragedies but none has had the overwhelming response that we've experienced for Tamikea. She has touched so many lives on this campus, and now all of us who've had the pleasure of knowing her are able to give back some of the joy she's brought to us through the years."
Enough money poured in from students, faculty and staff to help Tamikea and her family pay utilities, rent and basic needs for at least six months, a total of $15,000 with Chartwells contributing $5,000. A loss that might keep many of us down and out for the foreseeable future is more of a challenge for Tamikea, who plans to plow through physical therapy.
"I never thought it would be me on the opposite side," Tamikea said recently. "It lets you know people care. It's a great impact on my family and friends to know people care. I'm so blessed!"
Tamikea visited campus just one month after her horrendous surgery. "I have to slow down and get my strength. I give 110 percent everyday. I always put my best foot forward. But not the right foot anymore," she said, smiling her characteristic broad smile.
The Garden Is AbuzzThe campus has added 60,000 new members! Recently, Cloister Honey of Charlotte installed a beehive in the on-campus community garden. Students are learning about the honey production process and the life cycle of the bee and the hive. Bees are pollinating JWU plants and will provide fresh honey. "The Coop intends to sell the honey on campus for fundraising to help sustain the garden, but also to use in the labs," says Kelly Slade '11, student president of the club that helps maintain the garden.
"We are developing leaders at JWU, so our students need to realize that food does not come from the back of a truck," says Chef Instructor Robert Brener '01. Brener, along with students from his New World Cuisine class, started the garden to teach about growing cycles and earth management. Since dirt is scarce in urban uptown Charlotte, they built a container garden in a gravel parking lot, on the concrete slab of a demolished building next to train tracks. Bees love the diverse plant life beside train tracks, so students are looking forward to fresh honey this fall.
"We are situated in Center City Charlotte, one of the fastest-growing
metropolitan areas. Our students, faculty and staff have easy access to
all the major arts, sport and cultural venues, as well as Fortune 500