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Students develop relationships on revamped annual Service Day
Campus pastor Michael Unruh praises the success of the connection-oriented event.
On Sep. 21, 92-percent of Bethel College’s student population was involved in the school’s annual Service Day — which benefits students and organizations in Newton and North Newton alike by getting students involved in the community to build relationships.
“I don’t know whether or not this is the case, but I can imagine that a Service Day connection could open up opportunities for a student to come back to the organization and volunteer in other ways,” campus pastor Michael Unruh said. “And the staff of an organization might be interested in coming to college activities to support the students they met and served with.”
While Service Day helps craft those relationships between students and organizations, the latter are appreciative of the work done by the volunteers.
“Several organizations have commented that the students serving at their organizations were hardworking, respectful, and fun to be around,” Unruh said. “I’ve also heard that the work completed during the service times exceeded expectations — and in some cases was completed well before the time they expected.”
As for students, Service Day assists in providing real-world experience and becoming immersed into the surrounding community. “The organizations where students serve get to interact with Bethel students in ways they otherwise might not,” Unruh said.
He continued, “Students learn about the mission and values of the organizations they’re serving. They become aware of how important it is to step out into the community and provide assistance to organizations where help is needed and [create] opportunities to continue connecting with organizations for future jobs or even more volunteer work.”
This year, volunteer opportunities included schools in Newton, NMC Health, PrairieView, Community Cleanup, and many others. Unruh also mentioned that students were provided with coffee and donuts that morning in order to bring people together to kick off the day. Additionally, Aladdin Food Services put together an outdoor lunch as another way to bring students together.
Now a week removed from Service Day, Unruh’s team found that even students who were unable to participate in the day’s activites are already looking for other ways to get involved with the community.
“I think [that] speaks to the culture of service we’re hoping to continue developing here in the Bethel community,” Unruh said.