Each fall incoming freshmen at Trevecca begin their college experience with a day of service for organizations in Metro Nashville, and the Trevecca Class of 2017 made their mark this year. “Having new students serve within the greater community so early in their Trevecca experience is very symbolic,” said Tom Middendorf, director of Trevecca’s Center for Leadership, Calling, and Service (CLCS). He explained, “Because we will repeat this charge when they graduate in four years, we begin with the end in mind; we want them to know that leadership and service go hand and hand.”
Under the leadership of Megan Edmister, CLCS coordinator of the freshman experience, approximately 250 freshmen, 26 peer mentors, and 17 mentors participated in a wide variety of service opportunities—at Cameron Middle School, Johnson Elementary garden, Fall-Hamilton Elementary, Glenview Elementary, Chestnut Hill Gardens, Browns Creek, local streets and alley ways, Trinity Church of the Nazarene, Rocket Town, Trevecca Towers, and The Salvation Army.
At Trinity Church of the Nazarene, the work that freshmen performed actually helped resolve a conflict within the neighborhood about an abandoned house that had become a storing ground for junk. Neighbors had petitioned Metro Nashville District-13 Councilman Josh Stites to resolve the issue. Ryan Jolley, manager of the Abba Java Coffee Shop at Trevecca and the associate pastor at Trinity Nazarene, and Mike Proctor, the pastor of Trinity Church of the Nazarene, mobilized Trevecca freshmen to help clean up the property and resolve the problem. Numerous neighbors came out to greet and thank the students. One neighbor provided water and donated a juke box to Trinity Church of the Nazarene to use for their teens as a gesture of gratitude.
“The actions of the students at Trevecca are a constant reminder of Christ's call to be salt and light by engaging the world around us,” said Councilman Stites. “[Trevecca students working in District 13] didn't receive anything for their efforts; they acted because they saw a need and wanted to be change makers. Nashville is a better city because of the continued contributions of Trevecca students. Trevecca students represent the best of their generation. They are a bright light in a dark world and our community is richer because of their involvement,” Stites added.
Freshmen who served worked in the neighborhood surrounding Trevecca’s campus continued the effort to clean Brown’s Creek, picked up trash, and helped in community gardens. John Munn, a leader in the Trimble Action Group of Chestnut Hill (the area near the campus), praised Trevecca freshmen: “They always arrive with a smile on their face and good word for all the residents that they encounter. We are truly blessed to have partnered with the Trevecca Nazarene University all these years and to be the recipient of the generosity and love in the hearts of these students.”
Middendorf summed up this year’s freshmen service experience: “It was a great day for our new students! They learned about their community, met their neighbors, and gave of themselves to help others. They also learned something about this great institution. We at Trevecca are committed to its mission to be a Christian community providing education for leadership and service. Freshmen began their Trevecca journey with the end in mind. In only four years they will be empowered with an education to leave the hill and go and lead and serve within our world.“