GWU Students Experience Service, Culture in Chicago

Print Friendly

Group Helps Needy, Visits City’s Iconic Landmarks on Fall Trip

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—By serving the homeless at the longest-operating mission in the country and volunteering with a citywide 10K race to feed the hungry, a group of Gardner-Webb University students experienced service needs and opportunities during a recent trip to Chicago.

In addition to serving the hungry and homeless, GWU students and staff members experienced Chicago's iconic landmarks and culture. (Photo shared by GWU student David Cole)

For the second straight year, the University’s Community Engagement and Campus Recreation offices teamed to offer the Fall Break Service Trip, with assistance from Brian Arnold, assistant director of student activities, and Micah Martin, director of student leadership development and community engagement.

“God calls us to serve others,” Martin explained. “This trip provides our students exposure to the world outside of Boiling Springs and outside of the South, and it allows students to wade out into the deep waters of service in a big city with many in need.”

The group helped with setup and cleanup for the Run 10 Feed 10 Chicago 10K on Saturday, Oct. 17. The race, which traveled through the city’s downtown, will help feed the hungry, as each runner’s entry fee will pay for a meal for 10 families.

“Events like this are just as good to volunteer for as something your church or organization is hosting, and we want our students to see that,” Martin offered. “Things like the 10K are community-wide events that have great benefit for others.”


GWU’s team visited the Pacific Garden Mission on Monday, Oct. 19. Founded in 1877, the rescue agency provides shelter, a food pantry and other resources to the needy. During the visit, students served meals and worked to provide other forms of aid to the homeless.

“When you think of mission and service trips you think of going to places like Honduras or Guatemala,” shared David Cole, a GWU sophomore. “Those are places that need our help, too, but there are people all across our own nation who need our help just as much if not more, so we liked the concept of going to Chicago. The service trip’s a life-changing experience, both the work and service element, as well as having fun and meeting new people.”

Gardner-Webb volunteers serve at the Run 10 Feed 10 Chicago 10K. (Photo shared by GWU student David Cole)

In addition to experiencing service, the group visited an array of Chicago’s iconic cultural attractions, including the Hancock and Willis towers, the Lincoln Park Zoo, Wrigley Field, the Art Institute of Chicago and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Students got a taste of foods such as Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs.

Following this year’s trip and last year’s visit to New York City, there are plans for future fall break service journeys to cities like Baltimore, Boston and Washington, D.C. “Gardner-Webb is a school that provides great opportunities to serve,” added GWU junior Kelsey Carithers. “Whether it’s across the country or right in your own backyard, there are always ways to step outside your comfort zone and help others.”

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).