By Nathan Driskell, Student Reporter
Saturday, the university will send students out into the city for Service Saturday for the second time this semester, with a focus on its immediate neighbors.
About a year ago, the Service Action Leadership Team redirected the majority of its service projects to aid the neighborhoods surrounding ACU, said Nancy Coburn, SALT adviser.
“You can’t ignore your geographic neighbor in an attempt to serve the other ways that you can define ‘neighbor,'” said Coburn, also the director of the Volunteer Service-Learning Center.
“It would be like the man who was on the side of the road when the Samaritan stopped, and we would be like the ones before him, who just went by,” she said. “We can’t go by them anymore.”
Coburn said about two-thirds of SALT’s organized service events are focused on the neighborhood, but students also go in various-sized groups to major local organizations in need of help, including Salvation Army, Day Nursery of Abilene and Habitat for Humanity.
“Our goal is for [students] to find some place they love and enjoy and that really clicks with them that they can do on and on,” Coburn said.
Kelly Klinkerman, committee chair for SALT’s Service Saturday committee, said students often overlook their immediate neighbors when looking for a place to serve.
“A lot of students live out in the neighborhoods, and they won’t even say hello to people, and we just want to say, ‘Well, how can we foster that relationship between our campus and our community?'” Klinkerman said.
Twice a year, the VSLC sends out a notice to its mailing list of organizations announcing the upcoming dates in the semester for Service Saturday, when large numbers of students will be sent into the community with various missions of service. The VSLC also sets up a special phone line for people in the neighborhood to call if they need work done around their houses and yards. Coburn said students often come to the aid of widows or poor families with children in the neighborhood in need of help.
“They were just waiting and hoping and praying that someone could help them sometime soon, and then here are some college students that show up at their door, and they’re like, ‘Yeah! This is great!'” Coburn said.
“It’s so fun to watch that and see where there’s a need and someone offering to meet the need, and there they go.”