Mount Mercy service projects benefit those in need locally, nationally, globally

While preparing for the semester to come to a close, students at Mount Mercy University took time to remember those in need this holiday season. Recent service projects on campus are benefiting people at the local, national and global level.

Since August, Mount Mercy has given 2,150 volunteer hours to the community through 141 volunteer projects, servicing 26,933 community members. Forty-two percent of the projects were related to academic service learning, while 40.5 percent were personal volunteer time. More than 20 percent of Mount Mercy’s service projects were conducted through campus clubs and organizations.

Mount Mercy’s cross country team participated in a service project with the Division of Mission & Ministry to collect financial donations for Hurricane Sandy victims. With the help of a generous anonymous donation matching the amount raised, Hurricane Sandy victims received $1,200 from Mount Mercy University before the holidays.

The Division of Mission & Ministry also helped brighten the holidays for local youth by coordinating Angel Tree efforts for Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids. Seventy gifts ranging from toys, sports gear and gift cards were given to Tanager Place on behalf of the Mount Mercy community this year.

"Service efforts are important to us because it's a way to demonstrate what it means to live compassionate lives. Compassionate service not only works to meet needs, but changes the people serving as much as those being served. As such, service is a hallmark of a Mount Mercy education." said Coordinator of Volunteerism and Service Learning Brooke Oehme.

The university’s service efforts also made a difference globally as the water portal class initiated a project to hand out environmentally friendly reusable water bottles in exchange for money that would be used to purchase beverages in plastic containers. Students in the water portal class worked with Prosper Nbadishuriye, a humanitarian in Burundi, to learn about the need for sanitation and clean drinking water in his community.

“Thousands of people do not have access to clean drinking water and are exposed to water borne diseases from open sewers and unsanitary pit toilets,” said Professor of English Joy Ochs, Ph.D. “These communities in Burundi are urgently in need of inexpensive, effective ways to treat their water.”

The class raised a total of $625, which will contribute to the purchase of biosand filters used to filter dirty water and provide clean, sanitized water for families living in Burundi, Africa.

“It’s amazing to me that one biosand filter costs $50 and will work for up to 30 years for a family. Raising $625 and knowing that will provide 12 families with clean drinking water for up to 30 years was the most important thing I got out of this service project,” said freshman Mitch St. Andrews of Cedar Rapids.

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