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Nearly 800 Union University students and faculty give back during annual "Campus and Community Day"


Classrooms at Union University were empty today because students and faculty were out in the community giving back.

The annual “Campus and Community day” began after the city of Jackson embraced Union after tornados damaged the campus in 2002, 2003 and 2008.

“During those times, so many people in Jackson and West Tennessee came to the union to help in our time of need. And so campus and community day is an opportunity for us to say thank you and give back to the community for all of the community has done for us," said Associate VP for Union University Communications Tim Ellsworth.

This year nearly 800 students and faculty spent the day doing over 50 service projects.

“They're all over the place. They're at schools; they're at churches; they're at nonprofit organizations," Ellsworth said.

Senior Mikayla Depalma led a group of students that helped at Arlington Elementary.

"We are cleaning up there outside their campus and pulling weeds and stuff to make their campus look nice…. It means a lot to me. The union wants to give back to Jackson and I think it says a lot about Union itself and the school that we all love because we all get a chance to serve," she said.

Members of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and Kappa Delta sorority spent the day at RIFA.

“Today is an exciting day at RIFA. We have around 75 volunteers today from Union who are on campus with us... And we're thrilled that they chose to serve in the capacity here at RIFA,” Denice Walton the donor and community relations manager for RIFA said.

Junior Tim Boccarossa organized Lambda Chi’s service project.

“It's just a way of showing appreciation and thankfulness for how Jackson treated us…it's really awesome just to see students of Union like wanting to give back to Jackson, especially since we go here and we brush shoulders with everybody in Jackson just in our daily lives," Boccarossa said.

Tim Ellsworth believes that "Campus and Community day" will have a lasting impact on Jackson and the students that serve, “We want our students to leave. Union being good citizens and caring about the communities that they live in so that whenever they leave from here, wherever they go, that they already have the habits and the practice of contributing to the community in which they live.”

Tomorrow it's back to classes as usual, but today it was all about giving back to the community.

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