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College freshmen get cool drinks from Baptists on move-in day

NORMAL, Ill. (BP)–At first, members of the Baptist Student Union at Illinois State University and area churches had some trouble giving away soft drinks to thirsty college freshmen and their families.
“They couldn’t believe it was free,” said Serena Butler, campus minister at ISU.
On Aug. 20, BSU and church members handed out cold beverages during freshman move-in day on the Normal, Ill., campus.
“Every year I see all these people standing over there trying to get moved in and they all look so hot,” said Serena Butler, campus minister at ISU.
So, Butler came up with the idea of asking area churches to donate cans of soda for the BSU to distribute to thirsty movers. All told, Vale Baptist Church, College Avenue Baptist Church and Leroy First Baptist Church donated nearly 2,500 cans of soda.
Gary Ayers, a member of College Avenue, was one of many local church members to help hand out the drinks.
“It’s 90 degrees and people are waiting in line for elevators. It’s hot out here,” he said. “People just like a cold drink. This is just a ministry to the people.”
Butler said soft-drink giveaway gave BSU members a chance to talk to parents and let them know BSU is a legitimate campus ministry.
“We’re always trying to come up with new ways to do outreach and let people know we’re here on campus,” Butler said.
In addition to the soft drinks, group members also gave away magnets that told basic information about the BSU.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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