“Enter to learn, leave to serve” is the mantra at Christian Brothers University (CBU). The University is a Lasallian College, a designation given to only six schools in the United States and 70 in the entire world. Being a part of the Lasallian education system means that CBU operates according to five core principles: Quality Education, Concern for the Poor and Social Justice, Faith in the Presence of God, Respect for All Persons, and Inclusive Community. One way that CBU shows its dedication to these principles is through their annual September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds (SOS), a month-long, campus-wide, volunteer and community engagement opportunity for each and every person affiliated with the University.
September of Service began as an idea Honors Program Director, Dr. Tracie Burke, had initially thought of for herself. The thought was to volunteer at 30 different nonprofit agencies over the course of 30 days. Dr. Burke then began to think of the Honors students she knew, who already were acting as servant leaders on campus and decided this project could be much bigger than one person. It wasn’t long until Dr. Burke had the support of not only her students, but CBU’s administration as well, to create what would be the University’s first September of Service in 2012.
The primary purpose of September of Service is to provide an opportunity for all members of the CBU community, including students, faculty, staff, Brothers, and alumni to serve alongside one another and participate in volunteer opportunities with a different local nonprofit each day in September. Bringing together CBU’s community in its entirety is a unique aspect of the program and allows for connections to be made amongst the University’s constituents outside of the classroom. The secondary purpose of September of Service is to give volunteers the opportunity to learn more about Memphis and its many nonprofits, and to ultimately have the CBU community fall in love with the city! “An explicit goal of mine as the Honors Program Director is to get our students to fall in love with Memphis. I tell my students, ‘I want you to fall in love with Memphis because I want you to stay here and use your gifts here’” explains Dr. Burke.
Christian Brothers University just wrapped up its eighth September of Service with a total 516 volunteers completing 1,723 hours of service at 30 different nonprofit agencies. According to independentsector.org, the value of one volunteer hour in the state of Tennessee is $22.63, meaning that September of Service contributed $38,991 worth of impact to the Memphis community this year. What’s even more impressive is that since its inception September of Service has given back 14,034 hours of service valued at $301,508! Although September of Service 2019 is over, nonprofits who would like to partner with CBU in the future are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Leslie McAbee, Director of the AutoZone Center for Community Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org. September of Service does not have a specific cause area and welcomes nonprofits from across the service spectrum to participate.
Those who are interested in learning more and seeing photos from this year’s September of Service can find additional information at www.cbu.edu/sos, Facebook at www.facebook.com/septemberofservice and Twitter at @cbusos.
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