Southern Adventist University Impacts Community Through Largest Freshman Service Day on Record

With more than 640 students participating, this year’s Freshman Service Day was the biggest Southern

Adventist University has held so far, a result of the incoming class being the third largest in the school’s

130-year history and the largest since the annual event began. On August 18, all new students joined

together on 33 different projects throughout Chattanooga and the surrounding communities. From trail

maintenance at Red Clay State Park to preparation for the university’s local food distribution, the required

event provided opportunities for campus newcomers to venture into nearby neighborhoods and make a


“Freshman Service Day allows students to grow in their walks with Jesus as they model Him,” said Julie

Devlin, service learning and community service coordinator. “Each one is taken out of his or her element to

be a part of another organization’s mission. This can be a real eye-opener for most of them in

understanding what’s needed right here in the university’s backyard.”

Devlin served alongside students packing food bags for those in need. The group was assisted by police

officers as part of an ongoing effort by the Collegedale Police Department to partner with

Southern. Freshman Service Day was an opportunity for the police team to work closely with the

community they serve, according to Assistant Chief of Police Jamie Heath.

“We were immediately made to feel welcome by Southern students and faculty alike,” Heath said. “Our

department looks forward to future service days and other opportunities to live our agency’s motto of

‘Service Before Self.’”

Southern’s Christian Service Director Cheryl Craven joined students at one of three work sites where they

helped elderly couples with yard work. Craven described one couple as “beaming” and added that at

another site, the husband and wife were moved to tears by the students’ contributions to their lawn and


“Freshman Service Day engages students in service within their first month of being on campus,” said

Craven. “It aligns their Southern experience with the university’s mission statement to ‘… embody academic

and professional excellence, and pursue Spirit-filled lives of service.’”


The views and opinions of campus guests do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Southern Adventist University. An individual's or group's invitation to speak or present on campus should not be regarded as a university endorsement of their philosophies and beliefs.