Gratitude and Service

 

President’s December News Column – Gratitude and Service

 

The holiday season may mean a frenzy of activity in your home as you prepare for celebrations with family and friends.

December at PC typically means that the campus quiets down just a little bit. It comes with the end of the fall semester as our students ready themselves for their final exams and return to their families for Christmas break. The special activities in December and the holiday break between terms give us something to look forward to, but also remind us of how much we have to be grateful for now and throughout the year.

The support that the College receives from our alumni, friends in Clinton and the Upstate, and other partners allows us to provide the strongest possible liberal arts education to our students. Our faculty and staff dedicate themselves to serving and educating the young people who fill our halls. 

The PC motto is, “While we live, we serve,” and we are proud that the same commitment to service that we have for our students, the PC students, faculty, and staff all have for others.

Every year during our Week of Welcome, incoming students participate in an afternoon of service as a part of their orientation into life at PC. This year, more than 250 students were active participants in the day of service. Our students could be seen working at 22 service sites across Laurens County and at one site in Greenwood.

PC has a long history tying us to Thornwell, and our students have continuously honored that connection. We have hosted many celebrations for Thornwell such as the Thornwell Halloween Carnival, and this year 60 PC students completed the Darkness to Light training program and were accepted to be Big Brothers or Big Sisters to Thornwell residents.

These PC students have the freedom to do many activities with the children, including bringing them to the Greenville Dining Hall and PC sporting events.

Our students also have continued a program with Thornwell that they began just last year. The Adopt-a-Cottage program is an opportunity for various teams, student organizations, or other groups to go at least once a month to lead activities with the residents of their adopted cottages.

One of our longest-living traditions of service is co-hosting the Special Olympics. PC has been co-hosting the Special Olympics with the Whitten Center since 1974. Each year 200 students, faculty, and staff work together to make the games possible for more than 300 athletes.

Members of our PC community participate in all facets of the event from logistics to record keeping. Perhaps the most rewarding moments come from assisting in the games given the direct connection with the athletes. 

A sophomore who counts the Special Olympics as being among her top experiences at PC says, “It shows us just how easy it can be to brighten a person’s day. Whenever I cheered from the sidelines or ran the laps with the athletes, they got huge smiles on their faces and did not give up. It was great to see them have so much passion.”

As we reflect on 2016, we are grateful for the impact that our community, both on and off campus, has had at PC. The commitment we have been shown allows us to cultivate a heart for service in our students, and true to the PC motto, they return that commitment.

We hope that you and your families will relish the special moments at Christmas and throughout the year. May the gifts of hope, joy, and peace be yours now and in 2017.

 

(Bob Staton is president of Presbyterian College.)

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