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College students raise $3.5 million for missions


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Collegians give!

For the 1999-2000 school year, college students from around the country donated $3,417,705 to mission activities through their Baptist campus ministries.

The college students walked; they baked; they played racquetball; they made snow cones, along with many other activities to raise money. They gave sacrificially and they had fun.

Bill Henry, director of LifeWay Christian Resources’ National Collegiate Ministry department, said, “Three and a half million dollars is a lot of money! These college students work hard and make personal sacrifices to raise that kind of money. They are to be commended for that.”

The state convention and local campus leadership is what gives the students the drive to raise money for missions, Henry said, noting that without the dedication and determination of the campus ministers, it would never all happen.

The money the students raise is sent to their state convention collegiate ministries offices and used to fund mission programs in their states, the nation and the world.

Linda Osborne, Baptist campus ministry director at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, said one thing her students do to raise money is to pledge a certain amount, then give sacrificially to meet their goal.

Osborne said that while most of the students involved in BCM come from Baptist backgrounds, some of the students don’t have any type of church background. “We try to teach them about tithing and sacrificial giving,” she said. “Just by giving up one soft drink a week they can give about $21. We encourage each student to pledge $100 for the year, and a lot do that.”

When the BCM receives a list of all Tech students who list a “Baptist preference” on their student information cards, Osborne and her students send a letter to the students’ parents telling them about the BCM project of making cookie cakes. For a $10 donation, the BCM students will make big chocolate chip cookies, decorate them, then deliver them to the student.

“The cookies may be sent for a birthday, during exam week or just if the parents know the student is having a rough time,” Osborne said. “It’s a great way for us to reach out and get to know students who may not be coming to our activities yet. It makes a great first impression. They are glad to see us coming with the cookie cake!”

Scott Davis, campus minister with BSU collegiate ministries at the University of Missouri in Columbia, said the “Mizzou BSU” has ministry teams who visit churches, primarily in Missouri, doing music and drama, leading DiscipleNow weekends and other ministry projects.

“The churches will give a love offering. Then when the expenses are covered, we give half of any amount over the expenses to summer missions,” Davis said.

“This is a really great way to help the students develop some leadership skills, as well as serving as a great public relations tool and an awareness raiser.”

Students also volunteer to be ushers at the Mizzou Tigers home basketball games. They can volunteer to usher for four games and the Hearnes Center, where the Tigers play, will pay about $100 to the BSU.

At Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, BSU director Charles Nored said food is a big fund-raiser. “Churches from the area bring in home-cooked meals to the BSU each Wednesday for lunch. The students pay $3 and all the money goes to summer missions.”

Besides raising money, the lunch serves as an outreach tool, giving the BSU students an easy way to invite friends to go to the BSU with them.

At Washington State University in Pullman, BSU director Bob Harvey issued a personal challenge to the students to raise money for summer missions.

On his 60th birthday Harvey reserved a local racquetball court and challenged students to play him for a 5-point, 10-minute game. If Harvey won, the student paid him $25. If the student won, Harvey had to shell out the $25. At the end, all the money raised, about $700, went to missions.

Arliss Dickerson, BSU director at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, said tradition plays a big role in their fund-raising.

“For more than 20 years our students have had a Walk-a-Thon to raise money for missions,” Dickerson said. “Usually anywhere from 65 to 85 students walk 10 miles. They raise money by getting people to pledge an amount. The [BSU] committees set goals on how much money they will raise through the Walk-a-Thon. Then the committee whose people raise the most money get a pizza party.”

Dickerson said the Walk-a-Thon raises about $7,000, involving the community as well as the students. “I’ve even had families from the churches call and tell me, ‘No one has called me about the Walk-a-Thon yet.’ So I hook them up with one of the students.”

H.K. Kingkade, Baptist Student Union director at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, said the biggest moneymakers his students do are two date auctions. “In the fall, the guys put together a date. Then the girls bid on the date, not knowing which guy has arranged it.” Kingkade said they plan either a double date or a group date. In the spring, the girls arrange the date and the guys bid. Last year the UK BSU raised about $2,700 for missions with this project.

The parents of one of the BSU students allow the students to operate the snow cone concession during the Riverfest celebration in nearby Cincinnati, earning about $1,300. “He lets us run it for him. It’s an all-day job, but the students have fun. Then, he just gives us the money for missions,” Kingkade said.

Charles Lillard, Baptist Student Union director at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, said one of the annual money-raising projects at the BSU at UCO is a Work-a-Thon.

“We decide on a work project. Last year it was a Habitat for Humanity house. We ask each student to turn in 25 names and addresses of people they know who might be willing to make a donation for the work project. They usually just go through their home church directories. Then they turn in the names and addresses to a committee that writes a personalized letter asking for donations,” Lillard said.

“We call attention to missions by doing missions,” said Lillard, whose group raised $13,000 last year.

At Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, the BSU raised almost $9,000 just from sacrificial giving by students.

Director Kyle Klemcke said, “What we try to do here is to reorient the students’ thinking about their lifestyle toward giving. We try to get them to think specifically about how they use their money.

“We do make it a point to have some fun fund-raisers too,” Klemcke said.

In the fall the BSU sponsors a four-person scramble golf tournament. “Local businesses join with us and donate prizes,” he said. “The teams pay an entry fee that goes to missions. About half the players are from the community and the other half are students.”

Klemcke noted, “Part of the education we want the students to get in college is to establish a lifestyle of giving.”
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(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: COOKIE CAKE.

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  • Polly House