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Students serving others on Service Day.


Lipscomb University isn’t just big on service — we’re built on it.

Our founder David Lipscomb was known for his commitment to serving his community and the city of Nashville. Around here, it’s commonly known that he always sought to put others before himself, so much so that he almost lost his life during Nashville’s cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s, while transporting nuns to care for contagious patients around town.

Throughout the university’s history, we have followed this tradition set in place by our founder — a tradition of service-oriented, faith-based care for our community and world. It’s ingrained in all that we do, and it’s what we’ve become known for. In fact, Washington Monthly, the U.S. News & World Report, the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service are just a few of the publications that have recognized our institution for its high rankings in student service volunteer hours, clocking in at an average of 60,000 hours per year. 

We are intentional about living out our Christian values and following the life of Christ, putting our knowledge and faith to use to serve others. And we seek to develop the same lifelong commitment in our students, who will go out and continue to build their communities.

Here are some of the opportunities you will have to serve the community of Nashville and beyond at Lipscomb University.

Service Day

Each year, Lipscomb hosts Service Day, an optional event for the whole campus to participate in giving back to its community. Afternoon classes are cancelled and students, faculty and staff volunteers head out to organizations around Nashville to pick up trash, paint, tutor, landscape, clean and engage in other works. Some of the participating organizations include the American Red Cross Association, Churches of Christ Disaster Relief, Habitat for Humanity, Matthew 25, Second Harvest Food Bank, Project Cure and many more. This campus-wide event sees nearly 3,000 service hours accumulated on this single day each year and around 1,000 students who come out to volunteer—and those numbers are growing. It has become one of the most anticipated days of the spring semester.


Annual volunteer impact on local community


Average total student service hours each year


Number of mission trip opportunities


Our service is even integrated into our academics. In 2012, the university established the Service and Learning Together (SALT) program, which translates academic learning into local service opportunities, allowing students to tie their degree pursuits with community engagement. It’s our way of living out what it means to be the “salt of the earth,” combining faith and service with all academic areas and career fields. This program is a requirement that all students need to complete in order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

Quest Week Service Day

From the moment you step on campus, you will be immersed in our service-focused tradition. During the first week of freshman orientation, known as Quest Week, we provide you with an opportunity to not only increase your social awareness, but to serve alongside your peers (and potential best friends), for an afternoon within the Nashville community. Past partners and organizations our students have served include Safe Haven, Youth Engagement Services, the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Carestone Assisted Living, Madison Church of Christ Christian Care Center, and more.


The LIFE program (Lipscomb Initiative for Education) is one of only a few in the U.S. that offers college degrees to prison inmates. Each semester, Lipscomb students and inmates at the Tennessee Prison for Women (TPW) enroll in a liberal arts course held on-site at the prison to learn alongside each other. This offers academic and character-building benefits to both groups of students, along with opportunities to expand their life experiences. In December 2017, six women in TPW completed their bachelor’s degrees in professional studies and many have continued to take courses at Lipscomb following the course.

A view of Nashville during the 2010 flood

May 2010 Flood

In May 2010, when Nashville experienced a devastating flood and one of its worst natural disasters on record, Lipscomb’s on-campus Red Cross shelter housed 100 pets and up to 300 people. We served as a homeless shelter and as the temporary home of the Nashville Symphony and the Grand Ole Opry. A multitude of Lipscomb students volunteered their time and donated clothes, computer equipment and household goods to help community members.

Mission Trips

Our students are just as active serving populations in countries halfway around the world as they are serving our local Nashville community. Because of our emphasis on service, Lipscomb University hosts mission trips all year long. Beyond our fall, winter, spring and summer trips, we also host mission trips for national crises and disaster relief, as well as trips focused around athletics. At Lipscomb, you will have the opportunity to practice compassion across borders and in places with the most need.

Mission work includes reading to young friends