Huntington, Ind.—The Joe Mertz Center of Huntington University tied together campus and community Oct. 21 during the organization’s annual Fall Work Day.
The JMC has planned and coordinated this event to plunge the residential campus into the depths of the community needs since 1996. Volunteers divide up into groups, usually by floors, and are assigned a location and a project. JMC employees contact and are contacted by organizations or people who need volunteer help.
Since the beginning years, Fall Work Day has averaged approximately 425 volunteer hours a year. This year’s 222 volunteers, up from 186 in 2005, gave 777 hours of community service.
Groups went to places such as Huntington’s Head Start to help out with yard work—pulling weeds and raking leaves. Another group went to the YMCA to assist with organizing and cleaning rooms.
Crystal Hippensteel, director of first-year students and volunteer service, is excited about events like Fall Work Day, especially since students are giving back to the community.
“There is a great deal of need in Huntington that sometimes goes unnoticed by university students,” Hippensteel said, “and I am thrilled when I see students giving of their time to help others.”
Hippensteel, along with JMC Public Relations Coordinator Amie Arthur, believe that this is what they as Christians are called to do.
“It is great to see Huntington University students, faculty, and staff actually becoming the hands and feet of Christ,” Hippensteel said.
Arthur added, “There is such a great cry for help in the Huntington community, and I believe that it is important that, as Christians, we show the community how much Christ cares for them.”
In addition to the witness and care that the volunteers share, Arthur, a sophomore public relations major from Pandora, Ohio, said that Fall Work Day also builds strong bonds between floor members as they serve side by side.
The motto for the JMC this year is “love with an action.”
“It basically sums up the main point of why we are here,” Arthur said, “to give the students an opportunity to serve with love.”
The JMC is a student-directed organization that was founded in 1992. Since then it has become an integral part of Huntington University campus life. More than 70 percent of resident students are involved in some form of volunteer service, and more than 10,000 hours of labor are contributed by the campus community each year.