Students volunteered over 27,000 hours during the 2006-2007 academic year, according to Stuart Erny, director of Campus Ministries. Erny has been working for the last three years to combine the volunteer hours of campus ministries, Tri-S, social clubs and athletics. This growing list is a testament to how students are willing to implement the university's service mission. This number is only a rough estimate and is likely to be higher due to clubs and organizations on campus that do not submit their hours.
Approximately 1,181 volunteers spent over 27,961 hours participating in ministry work, according to Erny. Tri-S is one of the largest contributors of the volunteer hours, since most of the trips log the entire stay's worth of hours for volunteer time. Tri-S also is one of the few organizations on campus that provides students with a way to serve internationally. Other organizations focus their charity work on local needs in Anderson and Madison County.
Also, many athletic teams such as the football, baseball and volleyball participate in volunteer projects. Other groups that have recorded their hours with Campus Ministries include College Mentors for Kids, Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Although social clubs on campus participate in many service projects throughout the semester, few hours have been recorded or turned in to Erny. This year, SGA is helping track the hours that social clubs volunteer. Contributing numbers from social clubs are expected to substantially raise the total number of service hours. Along with the increase in service projects from athletics and social clubs, Campus Ministries has grown in the last few years. Two new programs have been added, bringing the total of ministry programs to 14.
Erny said that tracking the volunteer hours is not to judge how successful the ministries are, but to get “a sense of how many people are involved with service."
Dean of Students Brent Baker explained that serving and volunteering for others is a core idea at AU. "Our mission is a life of faith and service to church and society. I think that's a great description of what we are trying to be about," he said. "It seems to me that this generation wants to serve and is looking for ways to serve. It's a lot more about what happens to us when we serve. When you serve, you give back."
Junior Tiara Nash is the student leader for the Wilson's Boys and Girls Club, one of the 14 programs in Campus Ministries. She emphasized that the need for service is always there. "You impact people a lot. I don't think some volunteers realize how much they're giving," she said. Volunteering is about "building relationships with other people," said Nash. In the Wilson's Boys and Girls Club, students can experience that impact first hand, though the impact might not be felt at first. "When you build that relationship, the kids look for you week to week. Playing with them for two hours, even when you just sit with them leaves an impact," she said.
—Lindsey Emmick is a Mass Communications student at Anderson University. Story posted by permission of The Andersonian.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.