Members of Marshall University’s newest student organization, Huntington Advocators, dedicate their time to honoring the city of Huntington. While Huntington Advocators are still growing, they wish to provide community service to different areas as well as highlighting lesser known parts of Huntington.
Bailey Sanders, president and founder of Huntington Advocators, said she was inspired to create the club to share her love of the city she has lived in her entire life.
“At first, I wanted an organization that could bring people together,” Sanders, sophomore music education major, said. “I thought, ‘What’s something that I like to do that maybe I could express to everybody else?’ One thing I really like to do is to introduce new people to new things about Huntington that they just might not have known. I thought it would be interesting to do things around Huntington, but maybe I could do something a little further than that. Maybe instead of just doing fun things, we also try to promote Huntington because Huntington’s not really been such a positive topic in the news recently. I thought combining fun activities and community service would create a fun organization to where students get together, make new friends and they can do new things while also promoting the community.”
The Huntington Advocators’ community service projects will include volunteering at Lily’s Place and feeding the homeless, Sanders said.
“My aunt works at Lily’s Place,” Sanders said. “Lily’s Place is where they take babies who are addicted to drugs because of substance abuse from their mothers, and I’ve done community service over there before. Going over there is one thing on my agenda. I know there are other organizations who do it, but over at the [Harris Riverfront] park they feed the homeless every Saturday morning. I wanted to maybe combine with them and do something like that.”
While community service will be an important part of the club’s goals, Sanders said she wants to help Marshall students become more familiar with the Huntington area.
“The ultimate goal is to positively promote the city, and the other goal is to also have incoming, new students get to know the area,” Sanders said. “At the end of the year, I just want everybody to appreciate Huntington for what it is. It’s hard to appreciate Huntington without leaving campus because there’s so many people who come here, especially freshmen, and they just don’t leave the area. I want everybody to appreciate Huntington because I grew up here. This is my home. I don’t plan on living here for the rest of my life, but this place is always going to be a part of me no matter what. I have family who lives here, I have friends who are probably going to live in this area for the rest of their life; I don’t want everything to go downhill for my family or other people who are potentially wanting to have a family here.”
As far as areas of the city she wants to spotlight, Sanders said she has the football memorial and Westmoreland Park in mind, where the club can have a group picnic, as well as the west end of Huntington. She said the Huntington Advocators could take a weekend to show curious students these areas and more of Huntington.
“No one is really down by the west end, and that’s the area of Huntington I grew up in,” Sanders said. “Now I live seven minutes away from campus, so I switch back and forth between this end and the other end of Huntington. Nobody really knows the way around the west end, and the Westmoreland park is down there. Westmoreland is just a really nice place in Huntington; I love it. I want to just take a weekend, just go around the town and like rotate out with different students and let them explore Huntington. That’s something I really want to do before the year is over.”
Huntington Advocators have nine members so far, and Sanders said her goal is to have as many as 25 by the end of the upcoming semester. As part of Week of Welcome, the club will sponsor a Huntington themed trivia game night with prizes, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, August 17, in Student Center room 2W16. They will also have a booth set up at Rec Fest.
Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected]