By Kara Witherow, Editor
A special program at Andrew College is helping develop young men and women into servant leaders who are ready to make a difference in the lives of others.
The AndrewServes program’s mission is to develop a spirit of servant leadership that nurtures the college’s academic mission through community involvement. Each semester, the program’s participants – called Servant Leader Scholars – are required to complete 60 hours of community service work. This is in addition to taking an extra two-hour leadership course.
It’s all designed to enhance their leadership abilities, education, and personal development, leaders say.
“It’s a commitment,” said AndrewServes Director Rebecca White. “They’re really well-rounded students, and very busy. It’s very intense, but they make it work.”
What began in 1996 when a group of Andrew College students started a student organization dedicated to community service has today grown into the AndrewServes Servant Leadership Program. Each AndrewServes scholar now also receives one of the largest scholarships the school gives.
There are two components to the AndrewServes program – an academic component and a service component. Students are required to enroll in a servant leadership course each semester, and at the end of their two years at Andrew, they receive a certification in leadership development studies. In addition to their coursework they are required to read a number of books about leadership, including “A Journey toward Servant Leadership,” written by William B. Turner, a member of Columbus’ St. Luke United Methodist Church.
The self-awareness, leadership skills and certification come in handy when students apply for four-year colleges, White said.
“It looks great on their resume and it looks great when they are applying for four-year schools when they leave here,” she said. “This is an excellent program for them once they leave and go on to four-year universities and then go on to look for jobs.”
The second component to the program is service itself. Each student is required to volunteer each week for a total of 60 hours per semester. At the beginning of the semester the scholars choose where they’d like to volunteer, with most choosing to spend their time doing something that centers on their major, such as in healthcare or education.
The group also participates in large community events such as Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, blood drives, and Cuthbert’s Crossroads Festival to promote the community’s recycling program.
The students are serving on campus and in the community and are making a difference, says White.
“Our students have made a really big impact on our campus and community,” she said. “They exhibit what it means to be a servant and to be a good leader.”
The program is competitive - only 15 to 20 AndrewServes Scholars are accepted each year. There are 15 for the 2012-2013 academic year. Students must complete an application, including writing an essay about why they want to be a part of the program and how the program will benefit from their participation. They must have been accepted to Andrew College, must have a 3.0 grade point average and have scored 460 in math and in verbal on the SAT.
“These are the elite students on campus,” White said. “They’re the top students. They’re really involved and really developing leadership skills.”
AndrewServes scholars serve as role models on and off the Andrew College campus. White says that every day she gets calls from the community asking for AndrewServes volunteers and has students coming into her office saying that they’ve seen an AndrewServes student serving and want to get involved themselves.
“I think we make a really big impact on this campus,” she said. “I think that the AndrewServes students are true leaders and that people on campus look up to them and say, ‘Wow, if they can do that how can I get involved, too?’”