By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
About 350 students, faculty and administrators participated in the sixth annual ACU for Abilene on Saturday. The service project focused mainly on reaching out to neighborhoods surrounding campus, which students had previously worked on during the last Service Saturday, said Rheannon Reese, senior management marketing major from Austin and co-chair of ACU for Abilene.
“We’re trying to build relationships with the community immediately surrounding ACU, such as the Carver neighborhoods,” Reese said.
Because students had visited the neighborhood previously and returned as they had promised, they are building credibility up and making contacts for further involvement, she said.
Jenna Grime, junior English major from Archbold, Ohio, was in charge of publicity for ACU for Abilene and said the service event went well. She said she was pleased with the way the administration was involved in the event, with Dr. Royce Money praying in the morning’s devotional, Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, provost, and his wife, and Dr. Gailyn VanRheenen, professor of missions, walking neighborhoods.
“The administration was awesome about being involved this year in comparison with other years, which we really appreciated,” Grime said.
Aside from working in neighborhoods, other sites people worked at included the Boys and Girls Club of Abilene, the Day Nursery of Abilene, various nursing homes and Special Olympics practice, she said.
“The major focus was getting involved in the neighborhoods and starting to meet people around ACU,” Grime said, “and that really opened the doors for everything that’s going to happen next year with Project Abilene.”
Reese said the members of the Service Action Leadership Team began preparing for ACU for Abilene at the beginning of the semester, splitting up into five committees and spending countless hours planning what is basically a large-scale Service Saturday. She said SALT prepared for the event with a devotional Friday night and spending much time in prayer and focusing on what it means to be a servant.
“For the future,” Reese said, “our push is really going to be going out into the community.”