Five Years of Service and Leadership in the Local Community
On March 21, 2018, with paint brushes, lawn mowers and leaf blowers in hand, around 350 Point University students, faculty and staff took to the streets of West Point to clean up empty lots, repair houses, and do yardwork for struggling residents as part of Point’s tradition of Impact Day. Under the theme, “This Block is on Point,” the Point family hoped to show their love and gratitude to our West Point neighbors in a tangible way. With thirty-five sites stretching from Plum Street to Cleveland Street, the Point community served six hours with glad hearts on the blustery Wednesday.
“Impact Day is important to the Point community because it gives an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to all get together and work in the community and partner with community members,” says Assistant Dean of Students Illya Lawrence.
This past fall marked the fifth year since Point University moved to the recovering textile town of West Point, Georgia. Since that move, Point has been intentional about being good neighbors and giving back to the Greater Valley Area. While an economic boost was to be expected with bringing hundreds of new people to the area, over the last five years Point has sought to fulfill their mission—to educate students for Christ-centered service and leadership—locally by serving and leading in their new community.
“It’s a great way for us to give back to the community just because the community has embraced us so well us since we’ve moved here to West Point,” reflects Leia Wilkerson, senior English major.
One way of doing this was through a regular, corporate day of service, called Impact Day. Once or twice a year, Point students, faculty and staff leave their classrooms and offices to serve their neighbors in West Point, Valley and Lanett. They have built walls to provide housing to needy families. They have cleaned up local parks. They have collected supplies for the homeless. In each of these projects, Point had a singular goal—to give back to a community that has welcomed them since the Point sign went up on the corner of 10th Street and 4th Avenue in 2012.
“Impact Day is about getting out into the local community and helping out in wherever we can make a difference in our local community. The city of West Point has been helpful in identifying areas where we can have the most impact,” says Director of University Relations Chris Beirne. “We’re blessed to be able to do it again another year.”
The past five years of projects would not have been possible without Point’s community partners, specifically the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project, an organization that works to provide affordable housing and to revitalize neighborhoods in the Greater Valley Area. The City of West Point with Mayor Steve Tramell, Spring Road Christian Church and other local business have also been an integral part of past Impact Days by providing funding, food, supplies and volunteers in order for these days of service to have maximum impact. This year, community business partners included Hyundai-Demos, ITC Holding Company, Home Depot of LaGrange and West Point Coca-Cola.
“We love partnering with Point; we love all their students,” remarks Kim Roberts, Executive Director of the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project. “It’s just amazing to get out into the community and into the streets and see what can be done when a group comes together like this.”
Point students, while excited for a day off from classes, are more excited for a day of community building and service. Arriving early in the morning for prayer and commissioning, students gladly give up an entire day of manual labor to work alongside their classmates and professors and to help the community in a tangible way.
“My favorite part about Impact Day is just all being together and having fun serving our community,” says Daelee Parman, junior Biblical studies and preaching major.
While any institution of higher education seeks to equip students within the classroom, Point’s purpose is unique in that they aim to train students outside of the classroom in leadership and service. Whether through service learning projects for local businesses, internships with churches and ministries, or community service opportunities, Point is sending out their students out to impact both the local and global community with the Cross of Christ.
“It feels great to go out there and do Kingdom work and actually be able to impact our community,” says senior exercise science major Brad Bonner.