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IMG_1270In 2006, I had the privilege of being on the first Bisons for Christ planning committee. Admittedly, the first thing about the invitation to join that piqued my interest was the line that read, “Lunch will be provided,” but as each weekly meeting came around, I become more invested in what we were working to accomplish through this day of service. The committee, made up of students, faculty and staff, was organized by Vice President for Parent and Alumni Relations Liz Howell and College Church of Christ’s college and outreach minister Todd Gentry in an effort to revitalize an already existing day of service.

One thing that I feel the University does so well is providing areas for students to have their voices heard, and I saw that firsthand in this committee. Liz and Todd wanted to hear from us about service projects we were excited about and how to get our peers excited, too. They helped us execute our big ideas and supported us in whatever ways we needed.

Now in its 10th year, I’m proud to see that Bisons for Christ continues to be one of the biggest single days of service, aiding the Searcy community in a number of ways.

Yesterday, the Mitchell Center launched a mobile app for community service, and according to the numbers shown, there were more than 70 events with nearly 260 volunteers logging a total of 418 hours of service. And that was just what was recorded in the app! Those volunteers showed Christ’s love through pulling weeds and delivering boxed lunches and hosting sports camps. Their hands were dirty, but their hearts were full, and those whom they served got to see for themselves how Harding lives out its community of mission.

I’m so proud to see how Bisons for Christ has grown!

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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Students stop by the bookstore after chapel to make valentines for Arkansas Children's Hospital patients.

Students stop by the bookstore after chapel to make valentines for Arkansas Children’s Hospital patients.

If you were to ask many of the students on campus what their thoughts on Valentine’s Day were, you’d probably get a grunt and a sigh or hear how it’s really “Singles Awareness Day” or a big scheme from the card, chocolate and flower corporations. But to any child, Valentine’s Day is a little more magical than that.

In elementary school, I remember cracking open the lid of the shoe box I’d covered in construction paper, stickers and heart-shaped doilies and peering into the flurry of pink and red pieces of paper nestled inside. Buzzed on pink frosting and chocolate Kisses, I’d sift through them one-by-one, reading the Valentine’s puns with its accompanying cartoon character. (The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle card would read “You have a pizza my heart!” and the Aladdin one would say “Your wish is my command, Valentine!”)

Those little cards brightened my day, and this year the bookstore gave students the opportunity to brighten another group of children’s day — those who are currently patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

“The idea of providing free supplies to make valentine cards is one which has been developing since Valentine’s Day last year,” said bookstore manager David Hall. “When I began discussing the event this year with [sales and merchandise coordinator] Nicki Glover and some of our student workers, they came up with the idea of adding a mission element to the activity. Nicki contacted Arkansas Children’s Hospital and discovered the need was there.”

A long row of tables with supplies was placed in the middle of the bookstore and students, faculty and staff were encouraged to make a valentine that would be delivered to one of ACH’s patients. After chapel, before lunch or between classes, anyone could create and assemble a card that would soon find its way into the hands of a child.

Surveying the supplies at our disposal, two of my co-workers and I created our own cards and dropped them into the box that would be delivered to the hospital. Hopefully the stacks of cards delivered to the young patients will remind them that a campus full of people an hour away are wishing them a happy Valentine’s Day.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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