Posted by Aurora University on March 29, 2012
As I came upon one of the Aurora University service projects on Saturday, it was an impressive sight. About 50 students, under the bridge, scattered up the steep rocky slope, were hard at work filling garbage bags with the accumulated refuse that marred the beauty of the river trail.
Across town, a dozen students were laboring at the ReStore facility, working to help Habitat for Humanity in their task of providing a home for all. At Mutual Ground, members of the soccer teams set to work scraping and repainting the iron fence around the property and beautifying the surroundings for the residents.
At the new site of Aurora’s Interfaith Food Pantry, another group sweated and became caked in dust and dirt to prepare the warehouse and offices for move-in later this summer. Once the premises are ready, the pantry will be able better to serve its growing clientele, and offer them greater choice and freedom.
Over at St. David’s Episcopal Church, the women of Circle K cleaned and valeted the vans used by World Relief every day to enable the local refugee community to get to jobs and schools as they adjust to life in a strange new country. At ServantWorks, a small and dedicated group helped to paint and clean, and so helped in their mission to rescue women across the world from the abusive, exploitative sex trade.
In all, more than 100 AU students volunteered as part of the Centennial Morning of Service on March 24, giving up weekend lie-ins and warm beds to make the world, and the city of Aurora, just a little better. As the university prepares to celebrate 100 years since its move to Aurora, we at the Wackerlin Center wanted to offer a practical and visible demonstration to the city of our gratitude for being here, and our commitment as a place of education to the well-being and fulfillment of all the communities of Aurora.
Aurora University was founded on the values of service and wholehearted engagement with the world. It seems to me that our roots, in the Advent Christian Church and the YMCA, still nourish and inform our common life even as our student population has broadened enormously. Nothing much makes me rejoice like Saturday’s sight of 100 diverse and wonderful students — no matter what their cultural background or spiritual identity might be — joining hands in order to help and benefit others. Our common purpose and shared values are far stronger than any confessional differences or varieties of viewpoint.
AU students believe absolutely that everything they gain and learn here must be put to the service of the world beyond if it is to be of true value. They show every sign of passing onto the students of the next 100 years the blessings and benefits we all receive from those who came before us. So let learning, and those who learn here, serve this city, and the world.
Photo gallery: See more images from the Morning of Service