Ouachita Baptist University’s Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community will host its 16th fall Tiger Serve Day on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Tiger Serve Day is a time when Ouachita students, faculty and staff gather to serve the Arkadelphia community in an effort to show Christ’s love to those around them.
Tiger Serve Day, one of the largest community service projects in the state of Arkansas, set a record last fall with more than 1,000 volunteers completing approximately 100 projects throughout Arkadelphia. Since Tiger Serve Day’s debut in 1997 in response to a devastating tornado that hit Arkadelphia, volunteers have logged more than 49,000 hours of community service.
“Our students, faculty and staff recognize it as an important day in the life of our school and are getting excited about coming together and serving out in the community,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director of the Elrod Center.
“There is nothing selfish about the day. It’s a day set aside to focus on others and the volunteers catch that spirit and take it with them to their project sites. They work hard for the residents and love them well,” Duvall said. “This is a day when students take what they have learned about how to live the Christian life and practice it in very practical and relational ways. It’s beautiful.”
“We believe that a person whose life is marked by a commitment to service is a difference maker for life,” agreed Ian Cosh, Ouachita’s vice president for community and international engagement. “Tiger Serve Day is a great event to learn how to serve and to appreciate how satisfying it is to serve.”
Each semester a group of students serve on the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team, working with the Elrod Center staff to coordinate and prepare for the day. “We have 20 Leadership Team members who do all of the behind-the-scenes work to pull off the day,” Duvall said.
The team has weekly meetings where they “put in many hours of hard work visiting sites, entering data, organizing tools and managing teams,” Cosh added.
Bridget Bloxom, a sophomore Christian studies major from Benton, Ark., serves on the leadership team. “I think that the service days and the leadership team has just given me a beautiful picture of what the Church and the body of Christ really looks like in action,” Bloxom said. “It’s our goal for our team and our campus that we would really see people as Christ sees them and have compassion on them.”
Participants in Tiger Serve Day will meet in front of the Elrod Center to gather their supplies and receive assignments. They then go out into the community to complete various tasks that range from mowing lawns and weeding gardens to painting houses and building porches. “Volunteers are encouraged to care about the people served and establish relationships that can potentially continue after the day of service,” Duvall said.
The 2012 Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team includes: Daniel Aylett, a senior mass communications and Christian media/communications major from Nashville, Ark.; Jeremy Dixon, a sophomore mass communications and Christian media/communications major from Benton, Ark.; Jake Edwards, a senior business administration/finance major from North Little Rock, Ark.; Rachel Gilmer, a junior mass communications and mathematics major from Princeton, Texas; Katie Hopmann, a junior studio art major from Cypress, Texas; Jasper Jackson, a junior computer science major from Luxora, Ark.; Lauren Jackson, a senior biology major from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Ryan James, a senior biology major from Benton, Ark.; Abbey Jamieson, a senior Christian missions major from Sachse, Texas; Caleb Knight, a senior Biblical studies and Christian theology major from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Coleson Lechner, a sophomore English major from Minden, La.; Rebekah Poynor, a senior studio art major from Aubrey, Texas; Dawson Pritchard, a junior kinesiology & fitness major from Denton, Texas; Courtney Puddephatt, a senior biology major from Little Rock, Ark.; Anna Sikes, a sophomore Biblical studies major from Greenbrier, Ark.; Jessica Stewart, a junior Christian media & communications and mass communications major from Mansfield, Texas; Sara Walker, a sophomore Christian Missions and Christian Ministries major from Sulphur Springs, Texas; Garet West, a junior mass communications and biology major from Bolivar, Mo.; Rachel Williams, a junior accounting, business administration/finance and business administration/management major from Sherwood, Ark.; and David Winkler, a sophomore accounting major from Little Rock, Ark.
For more information on Tiger Serve Day, including sign-up information for volunteers, visit www.obu.edu/serve or contact the Elrod Center at (870) 245-5320.
By Devan Malone