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 Jacque Smith, Director of Public Relations

Aug. 24, 2005

Union College splashes Lincoln with color and service

Union College students and faculty gather under the clock tower for Project Impact 2005.

LINCOLN—At the beginning of every school year, Union College’s best-kept secret is the color of the Project Impact T-shirts. Returning students know better than to try to squeeze the secret out of student leaders who organize the annual service day. This year the decades-long tradition continues beginning at the event kickoff at 8 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 25. Throughout the day more than 50 sites across Lincoln will benefit from Union’s Project Impact volunteers wearing bright matching shirts.
        Project Impact is always scheduled during the first full week of school, when classes are cancelled for one day allowing students and faculty to volunteer. An average of 80 percent of Union students, faculty and staff choose to participate each year. Work sites are primarily service-oriented organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Children’s Museum, Goodwill, Lincoln Action Program, People’s City Mission, and Nebraska Library Commission, to name only a few. Free to Grow, a site added just this year, is an organization that revitalizes poor neighborhoods.
        “I look forward to this time of year because I get to meet and greet all the great Union students,” said Shanna Letcher, volunteer manager at Cedars Youth Services. “They’re never negative; they’re always so cheerful. It’s like they really want to be here.”
        Volunteers will do everything from yard work at Friendship Home to painting a mural of animals at Capital Humane Society. Some will put together first aid packets for American Red Cross, while others will clean up gardens at Sheridan Elementary.
        “Project Impact is great because it’s so active and involved,” said Matt Nunez, a Project Impact participant and senior business major. “It’s a ministry to us as much as it is to the community.”
        Union College’s tradition of community service began with a similar intent but under a different name. In 1981 the college began Project Brush, aimed at painting the homes of disabled or elderly Lincoln residents. In 1991 the service day was renamed Project Impact to embrace a wider spectrum of service.
Jesse Proctor, this year’s student coordinator, is amazed that in only a few hours Union College volunteers, whose number averages about 700 per year, accomplish what would take one full-time worker a year and three months to achieve. “It’s awesome that such a large majority of Union’s student body shows up to donate their time to the community. I just love it,” he said.
        Sponsors for Project Impact include 7UP, Adventist Disaster Relief Agency, AdventSource, Alltel, Students in Free Enterprise and Papa John’s Pizza.
View Project Impact photos