This Tuesday on Nov. 1, 2016, over 800 Union University students, faculty and staff will join together to participate in Union’s 14th Campus and Community Day: A Day of Remembrance and Service in celebration of God’s protection over the Jackson campus during the 2002, 2003 and 2008 tornado incidents.
Since the event is an annual campus-wide service day, Union will show its appreciation to the Jackson community for its assistance after the tornadoes hit campus. Union expresses its appreciation by serving in various projects within the local area.
“Because of our current context in which almost none of our students were here…many of them don’t have the same kind of experience with that day or with what happened,” said Matthew Marshall, Director for Service and Diversity Initiatives of University Ministries and the Center for Racial Reconciliation. “So I think recounting the story…and what happened in the aftermath of that keeps before us the graciousness and mercy of God.”
The tornado that came through Jackson in 2008 caused severe damage to the men and women dormitories. After the initial hit, Union’s future was in jeopardy. Yet, God gave the university hope and blessed them with a community filled with givers.
“One thing that we see very clearly and even in Scripture is that stories are very powerful and they shape and define who we are,” Marshall said. “It kind of keeps the reality of God being with us in front of us. It helps us not to forget that, and it helps us to turn our faces outward toward our neighbors and to give back…in the same way that they gave to us.”
Most classes at Union will be canceled on Tuesday as the university participates in more than 40 projects in places such as local schools, churches, and non-profit organizations.
“We look at this day in two parts. It’s a day of remembrance, but it’s also a day of service…,” Marshall said. “…and I don’t think there’s many things in this life that more faithfully displays our witness as Christians than service does.”
Those who participate in Campus and Community Day will first gather in chapel for corporate worship at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday in order to kick-start the event. Afterward, each team will depart to their assigned projects. Most of them will finish by mid-afternoon.
Senior linguistics major Erin Crocker, has participated in Campus and Community Day for the past two years and believes that service is something Union should consistently remember on a daily basis.
“I think it’s just good for people our age to go out into the community of Jackson and to connect with people that are not at Union every day,” Crocker said. “I think it’s also good for them to see that there are opportunities right around us to serve and that it doesn’t have to be a one-day thing.”
For more information on how to get involved in this event, contact Matthew Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.