As the year is beginning to come to a close, we got to participate in one of the coolest weekends of the year: Alumni Service Weekend. One weekend out of every year, the alumni of the gap year program are invited back on campus to serve alongside the current class in the community. It is a great opportunity to meet new people and foster relationships between classes, but most of all, it is a great time to give back to the community that each one of us called home at one point in time.

The festivities started Friday evening as alumni across all classes began to arrive from all over Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and the surrounding areas. We had some time to mingle and meet new people, while also getting to spend some time reuniting with the previous class and the people we met through our preview days this year. Chick-fil-A catered (a very common theme for the weekend) as we got to have a meal together and continue to socialize. After dinner, we packed into the classroom for group assignments and an information session. As organizer of the weekend and chairmen of the alumni association, Brad McDonald cast a vision for the weekend as we got ourselves in the right mindset for being the hands and feet of Christ in our community. Krista Autrey, our service coordinator, gave us our groups and laid out the tasks we would be assigned and the people we would be working with. After Dr. John Basie gave the current class and alumni the rundown on the new Scholars track at Impact 360, we went on to our final activity: speed friending (no exclusive relationships, keep in mind). The alumni circled the room as the current class rotated throughout in a timed fashion. It was great fun and a very effective way to meet the over thirty alumni that were on campus for the weekend.

An early Saturday morning was brightened by catered Chick-fil-A breakfast as we prepared for our day’s service. Class 6 Alumni Daniel Watts led us in our devotion for the morning as a group. Speaking out of Philemon, he talked about how we, in our service that day, could uphold the dignity and importance of all the image-bearing people we were serving in the community that day. We closed in prayer over the day’s work and the weekend before we headed out to our sites. Our sites and responsibilities were varied and spread out. Altogether, our groups worked for the local FDR State Park, made lunches for the local Circles poverty ministry, served food at an inner-city Columbus-based church, helped a local Impact staff member on her property, filled baby bottles at a local pregnancy are center, and helped clear trees from the new Impact campus across the street from the current one. It was great getting to serve alongside some of the new friends we have mad and accomplish quite a bit. The greatest part was getting to represent Impact 360 and foster relationship ties we have with the community. Most of the sites we served at are weekly partners that current students work with each week as their service opportunity. We had the opportunity to bring even more helping hands along with us and give back to the community that has given so much to each of us—current students and alumni.

We are so thankful for all the people that were involved in organizing the weekend, namely Brad McDonald and Krista Autrey. They put in countless hours of work organizing sites and logistics both on and off campus. The weekend would not have run smoothly without them. We are thankful to the alumni that took time out of their busy schedules and gave up a weekend to invest in us as students and the community we are privileged to serve. It was such an overwhelming joy for all parties involved!