By Mallory Sherwood, Staff Writer
Chelsie Fletcher walks down the street just to talk to strangers.
She strikes up a conversation with a man in front of his house about his kids, faith and daily struggles as part of the Streetwalkers program at Highland Church of Christ. Streetwalkers is an outreach program ministering to families in the neighborhood surrounding the church.
Fletcher’s involvement in the outreach is just one of many services that she and43 seniors will be recognized for in Chapel on Wednesday. The December graduate hopefuls were nominated by professors and nearly 120 seniors to be honored for their leadership and dedication to service while on campus, said Rita Harrell, administrative coordinator in the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center.
“I felt very, very honored to be nominated for this award,” said Fletcher, senior history major from Midland. “It is a humbling experience to know that people saw and have seen service as a part of me.”
The nominees will sit in a reserved section on the floor of Moody Coliseum along with a faculty or staff mentor that they choose and be recognized as a group.
“We want to simply recognize the students for their involvement to service,” Harrell said. “They were nominated because of their active role in the community, because they lead others to action and set an example. Through their encouragement, their lifestyle is contagious.”
For many of these students who have been nominated, service is simply their lifestyle.
Jackie Beth Shilcutt, a May 2004 graduate and interim camp registrar in the ACU Leadership Camps office, was recognized last year as a servant leader.
“It is so neat that people can be honored at ACU for their dedication to service as a lifestyle,” Shilcutt said. “It is something that these people have often never been recognized for and who don’t realize others even notice.”
Since the spring of 1999, about 530 people have been recognized for their leadership on the campus and in the community.
“Students have been getting more involved each year in service opportunities on campus,” Harrell said. “I believe it was started because [Provost] Dwayne VanRheenen saw the importance in recognizing these students within the ACU community who went above and beyond what we are all called to do.”
Fletcher said service is a part of nominees’ lives, and they encourage people to get involved.
“It is important to get out and share God’s love,” she said. “Be a servant by letting others see you serve them. Simply be Jesus.”