For Elissa Lombard, making an impact doesn’t require lots of skills and training. It’s simply making a difference in someone’s life.
“I like to do things that don’t require a special talent,” said Lombard, a senior international development major who is coordinating Project Impact 2017. “I want my fellow students to understand that it is not difficult to find people to help—and it is really satisfying.”
Project Impact is an annual community service day that began 36 years ago. On the second Thursday of September, Union College cancels classes for the day to give students an opportunity to make a difference in their community. Approximately 800 students and employees spread across Lincoln to serve at more than 60 nonprofit, community-oriented, service organizations.
Over the past three decades, Project Impact has helped more than 100 local service organizations including Capital Humane Society, Cedars, Food Bank of Lincoln, Goodwill, Lincoln Public Schools and many more. Volunteers often tackle tasks such as painting, organizing and deep cleaning—projects normal staff and volunteers don’t have time to accomplish.
Lombard has been involved in Project Impact for the last three years. She remembered visiting a disabled couple with two other students in 2016 to help with some yard work. “Their backyard and garden were a disaster,” she said. “It was hot and unpleasant work. But I knew this woman wanted an attractive garden and couldn’t do it for herself. It is satisfying to fill that gap in someone’s life.”
Project Impact is designed to give students a taste of service and connect them with organizations where they can volunteer throughout the year. “I hope this event leads students to find ways to help people on a regular basis, not just when others plan it for them,” Lombard said.
Originally launched as project BRUSH (Beautifying Residences Using Student Help) in 1981, Project Impact is the longest running college or university community service day in the nation. Since then, approximately 21,500 volunteers have given more than 131,000 hours to the Lincoln community.
The event will kick off with breakfast and a group photo at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 7, under the clock tower on Union College’s campus at 3800 S. 48th Street. If you would like more information, visit www.ucollege.edu/spiritual-life/project-impact