News & Stories

Ross Bryant
February 11, 2021

Connecting Berry coursework to community service

Junior environmental studies major Ross Bryant started working at Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful (KRFB) — housed in the Rome E.C.O. Center — during his freshman year at Berry as part of his role as a Bonner scholar. Through this scholarship program, Ross commits 140 hours of community service each semester, averaging about 10 hours of work each week. Once Ross began working for KRFB, he found that his service hours would not only benefit the community but also kick-start his career interest in social ecology.

Ross has developed transferable skills such as leadership, event organization and time management. “As community outreach organizer, I'm responsible for keeping a database of volunteers and board members, scheduling events, corresponding and meeting with community partners, as well as updating annual reports,” Ross explains. Much of his work puts into practice what he’s learned in courses at Berry, such as combining videography with environmental awareness messaging.

After COVID-19 struck last year, Ross innovated ways to stage environmental awareness campaigns. He produces weekly videos that educate people on sustainable practices like recycling. A recent video features newly installed cigarette butt recycling receptacles on Broad Street. KRFBroadcast videos (posted on KRFB’s Facebook page) inform viewers about upcoming clean-ups around the Rome area. Ross explains that volunteers have the opportunity to join the Adopt-A-Mile program in which they keep assigned portions of roadways clean.

After graduating from Berry, Ross hopes to attend graduate school to study social ecology, which examines the relationship between people and their environment. Drawing from his foundation in digital storytelling, he will continue making videos that shed light on environmental injustice issues. “I believe that if I could help people tell their stories about why it's so important that we address environmental inequalities, then it could have the potential to bring about change,” explains Ross. Despite the physical distancing among local citizens, Ross believes that his videos have brought the community closer together while raising awareness in an informative yet creative way.

Written by junior Mary Banks Shelander

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