The ISyE student has cofounded a student chapter of Lifting Our Voices to connect with her city and make a tangible impact.
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Growing up in and around Atlanta, industrial and systems engineering student Jordine Jones had passed Georgia Tech’s campus for most of her life. So studying at Tech as a first-generation college student and an Atlanta native has been an experience that she describes as surreal.
But coming to campus from an underprivileged background, Jones also saw the gaps between the bustling life on campus and the city around it. She attended a community event hosted by the local nonprofit Lifting Our Voices (LOV) that gave her the opportunity to make sandwiches and distribute them to people experiencing homelessness in Midtown. The experience shifted her perspective.
Jordine Jones holds an armful of the sandwiches she helped prepare to distribute to people living on the streets in Atlanta. Jones was so moved when she participated in the Sandwich Run with local nonprofit Lifting Our Voices that she cofounded a chapter at Georgia Tech. (Photo Courtesy: Jordine Jones)
“Actually going out into the community touched me differently,” said Jones, a fourth-year undergraduate. “The Sandwich Run gave me the opportunity to see the real people I was helping. I felt much more connected to the tangible impact I could have.”
LOV is a relatively young organization, founded in 2020, but already with chapters at other Atlanta-area campuses, including Georgia State University and Morehouse College. The nonprofit works to empower vulnerable populations through student-led service events, such as toiletry and clothing drives, voter registration, and the Sandwich Run Jones participated in.
Soon after her first Sandwich Run, Jones decided to cofound an LOV chapter at Georgia Tech, alongside Jada Crockett, fourth-year civil engineering and computer science major. Since its founding in March 2022, the group has hosted its own Sandwich Runs as well as a Cover the Hood Drive to collect winter clothes and blankets. The chapter is planning a toiletry drive in the spring for women housed in shelters.
So far, Jones said, the group been focused on helping people with the necessities of being warm, clean, and fed. They’re also focused on expanding to reach students across campus.
“At Georgia Tech, we’re right in the middle of the city. We’re exposed to so many people who don’t have the same resources that we do,” she said. “We should give back; we should make an impact not just on our campus but beyond it. And LOV gives us the ability to actually talk to the people we’re helping. It feels different from going to a food bank and never really interacting with the people you’re feeding.”
At Georgia Tech, we’re right in the middle of the city. We’re exposed to so many people who don’t have the same resources that we do. We should give back; we should make an impact not just on our campus but beyond it. And LOV gives us the ability to actually talk to the people we’re helping.
Fourth-year ISyE Student
“Lifting Our Voices connects college and community by empowering student leaders to engage, innovate, and execute need-based service initiatives,” said LOV founder Noah McQueen. “LOV has empowered students to grow civically, socially, and professionally with a focus on supporting individuals experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Mobilizing more than 400 students across 8 collegiate institutions, our organization has delivered 60,000+ meals during the pandemic.”
A first-generation college student, Jones said she was fortunate to have college-educated Black women around her to help navigate the process of getting into college. That kind of mentorship is uncommon, she said, and the impact it made on her life inspired her to get involved in community service. She said LOV is a stepping stone to her post-college dream of starting her own nonprofit, focused on giving other young girls the opportunities and resources to start their own careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM).
“It’s comforting to see and work with other women in Fortune 500 companies, but there still aren’t enough of them,” she said. “And you have to start early — it’s so important that young girls know what they can do with their future, and I want to help them to get where they want to be, because they can.”
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