A commitment to faith in action is evident in the BJU community.
Participants in the second BEYOND: Serving with Purpose forum hosted by the Community Service Council in conjunction with the Student Leadership Council delved into the Christian’s purpose in community service and explored service opportunities available through the University.
“Community service is about following Christ’s example of breaking down barriers to help people,” said Bradley Shepard, Community Service Council director. “Faith results in service. That’s nonnegotiable.”
Breakout sessions covered supporting pro-life causes, learning to foster and adopt, fighting human trafficking in the Upstate and around the globe, serving in a corporate setting and serving emotionally hurting people.
Shepard said that the diversity of topics reflected the student body’s diverse passions and areas of interest. The event was purposefully designed to show students that the way they serve should connect to their God-given passion and interests.
Serving Upstate Nonprofits and Organizations
Students, faculty and staff also met with the directors of seven Upstate nonprofits and organizations to volunteer their time and talents: Miracle Hill, Citizens for Life, International Justice Mission, the Department of Social Services, the Greenville Area Development Corporations, Piedmont Women’s Center and Let There Be Mom.
Many organization directors, such as Kipra Anderson, director of Let There Be Mom, sought to register students as long-term volunteers.
“Nonprofit organizations depend on volunteers as much as companies depend on their employees,” Anderson said. “Because of our shoestring budgets and lofty goals, we need people with a variety of skills and generous hearts to accomplish our missions.”
Several students registered for volunteer opportunities while others applied for summer and fall internships. Jessica Teruel, a junior Journalism and Mass Communication major, found that her photo and video skills were in demand with nonprofits.
“I was able to connect with a representative from Piedmont Women’s Center at her booth and told her that I’m a JMC major and that I’m currently working for The Collegian with their social media,” Teruel said. “I’m meeting again with the organization’s CEO in June to discuss plans for ramping up their social media game.”
More than 100 Volunteers and Counting
Since the launch of BEYOND, the campaign has partnered with 10 student organizations and dozens of nonprofits to register more than 100 students for their first service outreach. BEYOND community service outreaches include a Special Olympics event, a first responders’ appreciation day, working in soup kitchens, volunteering at clinical pregnancy centers, pro-life rallies, a pro-life prayer walk and anti-human trafficking events.
“The purpose of BEYOND is to engage students in meaningful community service in Greenville and to equip them to continue serving when they return home from college,” Shepard said. “BJU students come from 49 states and nearly 50 countries. We have the potential to impact hundreds of communities worldwide.
“It’s exciting to be part of a student body that cares about community, social causes and people. I’m grateful that BEYOND had a part in the continuing work God is doing through our student body.”
The BJU Community Service Council is a student-led organization that promotes and facilitates community service in the Upstate area. In 2018–19, the Community Service Council coordinated more than 4,000 volunteer hours and organized more than 50 service outreaches, including a hurricane relief team, food drives, Special Olympics events and fundraisers for local nonprofits.