Wilsons Join Adventist Collegians Community Service Day
More than 800 students and employees of Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, were joined by Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; his wife, Nancy; and other leaders in a one-day focus on community service by the church-owned school.
“Now I can see why Project Impact is such a big event every year—the young people are happy to participate,” Wilson said after the event. “Everybody participates—the faculty, the staff, even theMid-America Union office. It’s a great time to serve the Lord; to let people know about Union College and the Seventh-day Adventist Church; and to have a bonding experience.”
PLAYGROUND FENCE: General Conference president Ted N. C. Wilson helps install a playground fence as part of Project Impact, a 30-year-old community service event of church-owned Union College, in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States.Wilson said the student-based leadership of the event impressed him: “This demonstrates to leaders in the church that they can trust young people to organize things and don’t have to micromanage everything. The Lord has given them tremendous intellect and creativity. Give them the broad strokes and let them run with it.”
For students who participated in cleaning, landscaping, and painting projects at homes and institutions in the city, the goals were simple: “We want to be God’s hands and feet,” said Anna Coridan, junior nursing major and 2011 Project Impact coordinator.
Joining Wilson in the event was Dean Hubbard, former Union College president instrumental in launching the annual service day in 1981.
Originally dubbed “Project BRUSH” (Beautifying Residences Using Student Help), the day off from school was established to encourage students to get off campus and into the Lincoln community. Project BRUSH painted more than 100 homes in 10 years. Driven by a campus-wide desire to do more, Project BRUSH became Project Impact, a day focused on aiding more than 50 Lincoln agencies that serve the community all year long.
“Project Impact takes the focus off ourselves for a day,” says Coridan. “It’s a whole day to realize the needs of others.”
Each year more than 80 percent of the campus family participates in Project Impact, an event planned, coordinated, and executed by students. Since its inception an estimated 17,500 volunteers have served Lincoln with more than 111,000 hours of voluntary labor over the past 30 years. According to available research, Project Impact is the longest-running collegiate service day, with the highest percentage of campus participants, in the United States.
—Ryan Teller, Communication Director, Union College