On Thursday, September 7, nearly 800 Union College students, faculty and associates set out with the overarching goal of serving the community in exchange for nothing but the joy of service. At 8 a.m., the project began under the Clocktower with a welcome, breakfast, shirts and a massive group picture, but the process for the event started long before.
Project Impact coordinator, Elissa Lombard, explained, “I started gathering information from last year’s Project Impact, but began work in earnest in February of this year, working through the summer up until this year's event. I did most of my work in May, August and the first week of September.”
She says it couldn’t have been done without the assistance of her team—Sheldon Ramos, Emily Marasigan, Maylina Graham, Jose Quispe, Nathanael Torres, Judith Grey and Francisco Campos—as they provided both “moral and practical” support. Through countless hours of dedication, commitment, meetings and phone calls, Lombard and her team organized 51 different site locations for volunteer opportunities.
With so many different locations, opportunities for service were endless, including working in schoolyards, cleaning community centers and painting walls and ceilings. At other locations, students sorted clothing for the needy, weeded flower beds, filled wholesome food packages to be sent to less fortunate individuals everywhere, and worked on countless other projects. Freshman Theology major, Elly Petrik, who spent the day painting and priming ceilings at Capitol View Church said, “It was great!”
Corine Inuga-Maloba, junior pre-Nursing major, who spent the day at Lincoln Manor, added, “It was really good seeing people who were really happy about [our service]. The residents were really glad that we were there to help–just the fact that everyone was really passionate about it. When the residents saw people coming to help, they were so happy and it was really great to see!”
Volunteers stood out in the community not only with their acts of service but also through the uniformity of their t-shirts. This year’s shirts were designed by senior Business Administration major, Kevin Svoboda.
Svoboda entered the t-shirt competition in the Spring of 2017. He says it all began with a little extra credit in Professor Bruce Forbes’s graphic design class, but when he started working on the design, it really took off.
With a passion to encapsulate what Project Impact means to him, he describes his work, “I feel that Project Impact is about Union giving to the community to do [Christ’s] work and that’s what I wanted the logo to represent with the Clocktower in His hands.” Svoboda also credits Elissa Lombard, Project Impact coordinator, for her assistance in the design.
This event not only connected Union to the Lincoln community but also brought students together. Freshman Business Administration major, Danyelle Nesmith noted, “Not a lot of people knew who other people were in the group, but everyone found people to hang out with and laugh with pretty quickly.”
Andrew Reed, senior Math Education major, affirmed, “Even though it’s not required, I feel like it’s something I really need to do.”
While this is a fun day where students and faculty don’t have to attend to their typical requirements, the service doesn’t have to end here. Elissa Lombard encourages, “There are plenty of volunteer opportunities in Lincoln, and many of the sites we worked with this year are more than happy to have volunteers throughout the year. If students need help getting in touch with them they should contact me, but a quick online search for volunteer opportunities in Lincoln works as well. Find a spot you like to work and make it a regular part of your life as a student. Helping people is a great stress-reliever and serves as a great reminder of the world around you outside of studies.”
So students, get out there! Even in the monotony of work, homework and stress, there are opportunities to help others every day, even if just in small ways.
Kayla Miller is junior studying nursing.