By MacKenzie Hall
OBU News Bureau
ARKADELPHIA — The Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community at Ouachita Baptist University held its 50th Tiger Serve Day on Saturday, April 2, when more than 730 Ouachita students, faculty and staff gathered to complete 91 service projects at homes, nonprofits and churches across Arkadelphia.
“One of my favorite things about Tiger Serve Day is the relational aspect of it. You might think our teams are in and out one day during the semester without further contact with our projects. In reality, we go to the same homes, nonprofits and organizations every semester,” said Leigh Anne McKinney, associate director of the Elrod Center. “Our senior adults look forward to seeing us, and this semester we got to be back in their homes face-to-face. The relationship aspect is critical in what we do.”
Tiger Serve Day brings the campus together for a morning of volunteer service once during the fall semester and once in the spring.
“I just love Tiger Serve Day, and I’m so thankful that Ouachita provides us this opportunity to go out into the community. I think it’s important for us to go out and serve the elderly and find projects around town to make our community better,” said Bethany LaTurno, a junior Christian studies major from Tulsa, Okla. “I think that is really what Ouachita is about: making yourself and others better while living a life that is honoring to God. This a great opportunity to show what it looks like to serve God and others.”
This spring, the Tiger Serve Day leadership team chose the theme “Be the Light,” based on Matthew 5:14. The theme encouraged volunteers to live a life that reflects hope.
“I was super excited about this semester’s Tiger Serve Day theme because I think it is a good reminder that not everyone is coming from the same situation,” noted leadership team member Kallen Smith, a junior biomedical sciences major from Jonesboro, Ark. “It’s important that we are a light not only during Tiger Serve Day, but in all aspects of life because someone might be walking through darkness. We can directly affect people by the light we give.”
Tiger Serve Day has been mobilizing Ouachita volunteers in Arkadelphia since spring 1997, when a scheduled campus-wide service day in March turned into cleaning up tornado damage after a devastating EF4 tornado ripped through the area.
“How wonderful that on our 50th Tiger Serve Day, Ouachita continues this rich tradition of being a shining light to our community,” said Judy Duvall, director of the Elrod Center. “For 25 years, Ouachita students, faculty and staff have served our community faithfully. I am so incredibly proud of our campus.”
For more information on Tiger Serve Day and other service opportunities through the Elrod Center, visit www.obu.edu/serve or call (870) 245-5320.