Huntington, Ind.—Nov. 3-5, 15 Huntington University students immersed themselves in urban culture through the 10th annual Urban Plunge.
The Urban Plunge gives students an opportunity to work in a different environment that many of them have never fully experienced. Megan Condry, a junior educational ministries major from Celina, Ohio, helped plan and lead the event as part of the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service.
“I got involved because I have a passion for urban ministry and had taken part in a trip like this before to Chicago that I really enjoyed,” said Condry. “I wanted to be a part of this activity and help students learn more about urban ministry.”
The students left Huntington on Nov. 3 and drove to Chicago where they stayed in the International Conference Center.
On Nov. 4, students met with three different organizations and not only learned about but actively participated in urban ministries. In the morning the students worked at the Jonquil Hotel, a transition home for families where they assisted with a Saturday morning children’s program and helped to paint and clean the facility.
That afternoon, the students met with Gordon McLean and the Metro Area Youth for Christ. There, they met four ex-gang members, heard their testimonies and went with them on a tour of the city. For one of the students attending the plunge, this part of the trip gave her a new insight on people.
“Many people grow up in these poor families and can’t really help where they come from,” said Brinnan Imel, a freshman elementary education major from Markle, Ind. “The gangsters through YFC were a neat testimony to breaking the cycle in a sense, I thought.”
The students spent Saturday evening with Emmaus Ministries, getting a more practical and hands-on experience into Emmaus’ ministry to male prostitutes. The organization gave the students objectives to complete while out in the city. Students talked to people on the street, gained a sense of what was happening around them and helped to meet a need.
“The parts of Chicago that we were in were such a different world from what I am used to,” said Kristi Thompson, a senior English major from West Jefferson, Ohio. “It is also good to be forced out of our comfort zones to where God is the only one we can rely on.”
While the students accomplished many tasks over their weekend in Chicago, there is always a need for more people to participate in the next Urban Plunge.
“I think it would be amazing if more students participated,” said Nicole Tow, a sophomore elementary education major from Rensselaer, Ind. “I just think that we might be able to accomplish more and also educate this campus about things that are going on outside of HU.”