Project Impact 2010: The legacy of service continues

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Overcast skies with a forecast of rain—Thursday, September 9, was the sort of day that makes most people want to pull the covers up and stay in bed. With classes and work cancelled for the day, Union College students had the option of turning off the alarm and sleeping in, and yet approximately 770 students, employees and friends got out of bed and met under the clock tower at 8:15 a.m. to begin a day of helping others.

Now in its 29th year, Project Impact kicks off each academic year by setting a tone of voluntary service.

“Many of our students are far from home and new to Lincoln, about 80 percent come from other states and countries,” said Rich Carlson, vice president for spiritual life. “Many times the connections they make during Project Impact lead to longer-term relationships as the students become active citizens of their new hometown.”

Most of this year's 57 sites had students cleaning, organizing and doing yard work, the sort of tasks that need to get done but rarely rise to the top of the to-do list for non-profit organizations with limited resources. As students returned to campus, their stories shared common threads: the tasks would have been boring alone, but were fun with friends, many organizations underestimated the amount of work the groups could accomplish, and the students would happily go back and help more.