UA Students Go Beyond Bama: Serving in Memphis

In December 2021, a team of students from The University of Alabama traveled to Memphis, TN with the Center for Service and Leadership to serve local organizations in a Beyond Bama trip. It was the first time since December 2019 that CSL has been able to take students on these trips.Students who served in the Beyond Bama Memphis trip sit on a brick bench for a picture

Beyond Bama is a unique program that sends students around the United States and even the world to participate in service learning experiences during University holiday breaks. Zoë Winston, assistant director of the CSL, said, “One key element that sets Beyond Bama apart is that not only do students get to engage in intense and intentional service but they also have intentional reflection time to help connect what they are learning on their Beyond Bama trip to what they are learning in classes.”

“The goal of these trips is to engage students with the broader, global community,” she added. These trips are almost fully student led, with faculty and staff advisors who facilitate discussion and reflection times to maximize the student learning and leadership experience.

The Greater Good

students work alongside community membersIn Memphis, the UA team primarily worked with a group known as Serve 901, a leadership and community development organization based in Memphis. Through Serve 901, they were able to work with other sustainable community service organizations in Memphis such as LifeLine to Success (which works with formerly incarcerated citizens), Jacob’s Ladder (which helps provide affordable housing in lower income areas), and the Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. (which revitalizes neighborhoods by cleaning up abandoned properties).

The Bigger Impact

Nickell Grant, a senior public relations major from Houston, TX served as the student trip leader. She said that even though she knows they were able to leave a positive impact on the city of Memphis, she believes that the Beyond Bama experience had an even greater impact on her and the otherstudents paint the interior of a building students who participated.

“Our time at LifeLine to Success taught us to allow people’s character and not their rap sheets to speak for them,” Nickell said.

Traditionally, students fundraise to attend these trips, but through generous partners of the division, Student Life was able to fully scholarship all of the students who attended the Beyond Bama trip to Memphis.

If you are interested in learning more about Beyond Bama and future service opportunities, please contact Zoë Winston at