The Mitchell Center for Leadership and Ministry has launched a mobile app for students and the University community called HU Service Central. Compatible with all Apple and Android devices, the app allows users to find volunteer opportunities in the area and record their hours of service.
“The question on the table was, in all of the social media applications that were out there, did we know of an app that did all of the spokes we needed of a wheel of service?” said Dr. Andrew Baker, director of the Mitchell Center. “And what we learned was, no, not that we could find.”
Baker was already in communication with Crowd Hub about a project for another program out of his center, so he went to them to communicate the concept of an app for service. The company created wireframes based on the idea, and the center collaborated with IS&T, the provost office, campus life, student life and communication department students to create the app.
“This app serves a great purpose in reaching out to the Harding community,” CIO and Vice President of IS&T Keith Cronk said. “It is a way to find out where and how we can all serve and spread the aroma of Christ.”
“Harding is blessed to have students who have a heart for service,” Associate Provost Marty Spears said. “The app is being piloted as a way to help facilitate and promote opportunities to serve and provide a forum within the community to share stories which will hopefully inspire others to serve.”
To view information about upcoming volunteer opportunities, app users must sign up for an account using a harding.edu email address. Once an account is created, users can then view the event details, register to attend, and even open the location in Maps. In addition, the app allows users to take a volunteer experience further by offering a space to post comments about the event and upload photos of the work that was done.
“The app is a bridge between technology and service,” said Ben Hansen, graduate assistant in the Mitchell Center. “It brings out the best in Harding’s community of service by using what we already have, a smart phone, to connect us with different people and opportunities in the community where help is needed. I think this is the future of volunteer service, connecting schools, churches and other organizations to the opportunities right in front of them.”
The main screen of the app displays Harding’s Impact, a section where a user can view a variety of numbers such as available events, total volunteers and hours volunteered. The user can also see the total number of hours volunteered by month within the entire University community.
“We really wanted to take advantage of technology available to empower our students to do more good for the community in which we live,” President Bruce McLarty said. “This app will help us and our students see the hours of service everyone is putting into this community of mission.”
Baker said the app will allow the University to be more aware of the many great ways in which Harding students are serving this community.
“If we have a better understanding of what people are doing, we can support what they’re doing better,” he said. “What I hope comes from this is that we will gain an awareness so we can help students serve in even greater ways than they thought was first possible. We have some of the best students in the country, and I think they’re doing some absolutely phenomenal stuff. I think this app will help us do a better job of telling the story of the amazing students we have.”