Established in 2002, Lipscomb University’s annual Service Day has grown from a small event that around 50 students participated in, to a huge event that more than 800 students now enjoy.
Once a year, each year, the entire student body is excused from afternoon classes and divided up into small groups to head out throughout Nashville and volunteer for worthy causes. Last year a record 875 students and faculty volunteered at 57 sites around Nashville including the American Red Cross, Daystar Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Radnor Lake, Youth Encouragement Services (YES), Healing Hands, Rocketown and many local churches.
This year faculty and staff volunteered at more than 39 nonprofit organizations, such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Radnor Lake, Rocketown, Cheekwood, Warner Park Nature Center, YES’ after-school centers, the Nashville Metro Library and Habitat for Humanity.
Service Day is just one of three campus-wide service days held for Lipscomb students each year. The others are during QuestWeek, the first week of school for new freshmen and transfer students, and during MLK commemoration week, traditionally held in cooperation with other universities and focusing on the unification goals of Martin Luther King Jr.
Service Day is also one of many, many service opportunities offering students SALT credit points. The SALT program requires all undergraduate students to complete service hours and to take a service-learning course in order to graduate.
Over the past five years, the SALT program has engaged 200 community partners and 70 service-learning faculty teaching 300 service-learning courses. On average, the university has engaged 1,500 students engaged in service-learning annually for the past five years.
SALT has resulted in nearly 50,000 hours of service to the community, valued at almost $1 million, since its inception. Service Day is a big part of that, sending students out each year to plant flowers and wash cars, to sort food and shelve library books, to organize warehouses and repair nature trails all over town.