JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Colleges and universities across the country have stepped up to help Union University recover from the devastation left by an EF-4 tornado Feb. 5.
“The list of institutions who have contacted us with offers of assistance, support and help is lengthy and impressive,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “We have much for which to be grateful and many friends to whom we are grateful at this time. The list continues to grow with each passing day.”
So far, more than 80 colleges and universities have sent some form of aid to Union.
Approximately 55 students, faculty and staff from Belmont University have traveled to Union’s Jackson, Tenn., campus as part of Belmont’s ministries program to help with the cleanup process and other volunteer efforts. Belmont also has donated $100,000 for Union’s recovery.
“I know we will all continue to pray for our sisters and brothers in Christ at Union who have been devastated by the tornado,” said Todd Lake, Belmont’s vice president of spiritual development. “At [Belmont’s] campus-wide worship service on Feb. 13, we had a focused time of prayer for Union University and took up a special collection for the needs of students.”
Following a week of fundraising for Union, Belmont also held a benefit concert for Union Feb. 20, following another campus-wide worship service.
Bob Fisher, Belmont’s president, addressed students, faculty and staff on the campus website about the efforts to help Union, noting:
“We often feel helpless when confronted with such devastation and feel as if there is nothing we can do. I hope we will push past that response to realize there is always some helpful action we can take if we are willing. Please pray for the people of Union University along with all the others who were impacted by these storms.”
At the University of Memphis, the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter organized a drive to raise money for Union.
“We originally planned to have a donation drive to collect clothes, non-perishable items and hygiene products,” said Kelly McFall, senior public relations major at the university. “But we figured Union has enough things to deal with, so we decided to simply collect monetary donations.”
PRSSA has set a goal of $2,500 and has received help for the fundraising drive from Bellevue Baptist Church’s college ministry in suburban Memphis and the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature.
Union also has received financial gifts from other colleges, universities and seminaries, including Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Criswell College, Carson-Newman College in Tennessee, Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri, Houston Baptist University, Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy in Tennessee and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
Union has received offers of help and volunteers from more than 80 other schools, including Lambuth University in Jackson, California Baptist University, Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Cedarville University in Ohio, Dordt College in Iowa, Oklahoma Baptist University, University of Washington, University School of Jackson, Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Samford Universtiy in Birmingham, Ala., Mississippi College, Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and Azusa Pacific University in California.
Two schools from overseas -– Ansgar College in Kristiansand, Norway, and Redeemer College in Canada -– have offered to send support to Union as well.
Within the Southern Baptist Convention, Union also has received recovery gifts from the SBC Executive Committee, LifeWay Christian Resources, the Tennessee Baptist Convention, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes.
Sarah McBroom is a junior journalism student at Union University.