More than 400 Washington Adventist University Students blanketed the greater Silver Spring area, Wednesday, April 3, to perform acts of service to the community. Community clean-up, health clinics, and service to the sick or marginalized, were the focus of the day’s event.
“Service day is a time when students put feet and hand to their faith,” said Vice President of Ministry, Baraka Muganda. “Faith in action is seen all over the University during our two annual service days.”
Three faculty members, Professors Zdravo (Zack) Plantak, Bogdan Scur and Gaspar Colon accompanied 22 students from the Department of Religion to Food and Friends, a charity that feeds AIDS/HIV victims in the Washington D.C. area, and delivered food packages to them. Meanwhile, professors Melvin Roberts and Joseph Tobing, and dean of men, Tim Nelson, led a large contingency on a clean-up of Sligo Creek Park.
Chair of the Business Department, Kimberley Pichot, led 12 students through parts of New Hampshire Avenue and the East West Highway to pick up litter. Pichot is the sponsor for WAU’s chapter of Enactus, which was named a regional champion at a competition held in Baltimore, Md., March 23.
Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need, according to a statement on its website.
“Melanie Isis, one of the Enactus board members, asked us to help in the area, which is her regional area. We received help from Enactus through Melanie, and now we are helping back,” Pichot said, explaining why she took up the project.
At a health clinic, set up in the Langley Park Shopping Center, students—led by Professor Rebecca Hacker—checked for heart disease, breast health, STD’s, blood pressure, and diabetes, among other ailments.
“Students get practical experience meeting people where they are, rather than having them come over to us. We are reaching people who might not otherwise get medical care. We are also educating the patients so that they can be informed consumers,” said Professor Hacker. Bibles were also handed out to those who took advantage of the clinic.
At the Silver Spring Civic Center ice rink, Assistant Professor Alvin Fuentes and Professor Jasline Moreno were joined briefly by a roving Muganda. The group, along with 40 students, set up a health clinic that included mental health screenings, information on stress management, exercise and nutrition. A second group of nursing students screened patients for diabetes.
“Nursing is all about service. It’s nice to collaborate with other departments and work together as a team. Students also benefit by being exposed to preventative medicine and educating the general population,” Moreno said.
The Salvation Army Store on New Hampshire Avenue was visited by another group of nursing students, led by assistant dean Khadine Taffe.