In chapel Tuesday, the Community Service Council launched BEYOND, an initiative designed to encourage and equip students in a lifelong quest for service.
BEYOND launched with a special forum that took place during chapel, but preparation for the event has taken months.
Ian Dyke, the student leadership council communications director, said the idea for BEYOND came from a CSC meeting at the beginning of the semester. The council asked themselves if they were accomplishing their purpose of getting students involved in meaningful community service while at college. Then they asked if that was even the goal of the CSC.
The CSC decided that their goal wasn’t just to engage BJU students in outreach while on campus but to prepare them for life-long community service.
Bradley Shepard, community service council director, has high hopes for the influence BJU’s campus could have. “BJU students come from 49 states and nearly 50 countries,” Shepard said. “We have the potential to impact hundreds of communities worldwide.”
In order to bring this impact about, BEYOND focuses on three problems related to community service and students.
First, BJU students often participate in service while on campus but fail to continue after graduation. Without BJU’s structure of providing opportunities, many graduates don’t know where to begin serving.
To help solve this problem, the CSC will host a BEYOND forum on April 6. Nonprofits from the Upstate will teach students how to serve no matter where they are and even show them how to become a service facilitator.
After all, service isn’t an option, according to Shepard. “Faith results in service,” he said, “That’s nonnegotiable.”
Second, in addition to not knowing how to create service opportunities themselves, many members of the campus community think of community service as a Saturday doing manual work or an activity you participate in before promptly forgetting.
Dyke wants students to get involved in service through their passions. “It’s about connecting to your passions,” he said. Dyke also said there is more to service than simple manual labor. “Relate community service to your expertise,” he said.
For example, cinema production majors can create a promotional video for a nonprofit. Or a business administration major can do volunteer work on the organization’s finances.
Kipra Anderson, director of the nonprofit Let There Be Mom, said, “Nonprofit organizations depend on volunteers as much as companies depend on their employees,” she said. “Because of our shoe-string budgets and lofty goals, we need people with a variety of skills and generous hearts to accomplish our missions.”
Third, the CSC wants students to know about the opportunities that are available on campus through the CSC. “We want students to know about all the opportunities the CSC offers, making them aware that the CSC is there to partner them with local communities,” Dyke said.
He also said the CSC has connections that students can use to serve not just for a weekend but throughout their college years. Through BEYOND, students will be able to participate in a number of activities.
One major event will be a March for Life in April. The march will consist of nine stops, one for each month of pregnancy. At each stop, participants will learn about how the baby progresses in the womb.