In a year full of changes on campus, Bethel College students still shared in one important annual tradition: Service Day.
Classes were canceled Sept. 23 for the annual event so students could spend several hours serving on campus and in the community.
Service Day saw its own changes. This year’s service locations were either on campus or within walking distance instead of throughout North Newton and Newton, mostly outdoors.
“With these unique guidelines at play, it would have been easy for Service Day to dwindle in enthusiasm, but our students rose to meet the challenges,” said campus pastor Michael Unruh.
About 340 students took on 28 service opportunities. Unruh said on-campus projects sought to recognize maintenance and facilities staff for all the extra work required to open and maintain campus this year.
Branches were trimmed, trash collected, paint brushed, areas cleaned and mulch spread, among other projects.
At the Mennonite Central Committee Central States office, 68 students checked and boxed 2,255 school kits and folded and baled 300 comforters.
A new activity this year had students write letters to adults in local retirement communities and nursing facilities, and inmates on death row, and cards to children at Wesley Children’s Hospital in Wichita.
Students wrote 461 encouraging letters to lift the spirits of the people at these places who are likely experiencing fewer visitors in the midst of the pandemic.
“Several community partners commented that the amount of work completed by the students exceeded their expectations,” Unruh said.