LU students’ community impact continues into the holidays
Each year, students spend more than 950,000 hours doing community service in local, national, and international communities. While students are required to give 20 hours of community service each semester, many go above and beyond through opportunities provided by LU Serve, the Office of Spiritual Development, and various academic programs and schools.
The holiday season was no exception as students took time out of the busy semester to make sure needs were met.
This past week, School of Nursing instructor Amber Bruffy helped host a toy drive for the 112 children currently in foster care in Lynchburg. Bruffy said she is grateful Liberty wanted to give back. The cause is close to Bruffy’s heart, as she adopted her son from the foster care system in 2013.
Before Thanksgiving, students partnered with local police to deliver food to community residents. This event gave Liberty’s criminal justice students an opportunity to work with the Lynchburg Police Department’s Community Action Team (CAT). Members of Liberty University’s Criminal Justice Club delivered boxes of donated food to Lynchburg residents at the James River Apartment Complex.
Students were prepared to serve the community in whatever ways possible as the seasons changed and temperatures dropped.
Blankets were in low supply this year at Park View Community Mission in Lynchburg, and members of Liberty University’s new Family and Child Development Association (FACDA) responded to the need by hosting a blanket drive on campus. The club collected more than 60 blankets and delivered them to the mission on Nov. 16.
From Nov. 1-17, Liberty Academic Affairs for Athletics organized Share the Warmth, a campaign aimed at collecting new and gently used coats, scarves, hats, gloves, and blankets. These items were packaged and distributed to the homeless and those in need throughout the Lynchburg area. Liberty student-athletes collected more than 50 coats and over 200 accessories.
Liberty’s efforts to impact the community extend throughout the year, but to highlight its commitment to the region, more than 1,600 students, faculty, and staff participated in Liberty's first Serve Lynchburg event, a one-day service blitz on April 22. Students were stationed at 60 sites around the city, ranging from day cares to nursing homes and nonprofits.
Students have gained national recognition for their service work. The university’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a national honor society for history students, was recently recognized as one of the society’s 2017 Best Chapters. This is Liberty’s second time receiving the award. The club dedicated time toward helping clean up historical sites around Lynchburg such as the Appomattox Court House National Park and Historic Sandusky.
This summer, Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s incoming class of student-doctors hosted a service day for 120 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg and Jubilee Family Center. The Liberty Mountain Intramural Complex was converted into a giant field day, as more than 150 new student-doctors led the children in games such as sharks and minnows, football, and relay races.
While most area youth were gathering candy for themselves on Oct. 31, Liberty student-athletes were going door to door for the annual “Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat” canned-food drive. The student-athletes collected more than 5,136 canned goods, with the women’s lacrosse team leading the way with a total of 1,573.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students volunteered at Scaremare, a fall semester staple that has been giving students opportunities to serve and entertain the community for years with a funhouse of horrors. The event continues to leave residents with a message of hope.
Acts of service were not limited to the streets of Lynchburg, but around the country and the world. LU Send Now, the university’s disaster relief initiative, sent students to serve in other regions of the United States and the world. This semester alone, teams went to Mexico following a deadly earthquake and joined hurricane relief efforts in Texas and the islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
Liberty is committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders — men and women of character whose impact will extend beyond their professions to change the world around them. Students are encouraged to serve the local community and take such habits into the workplace following graduation.