Opportunities for Participation: Service
True to its Anabaptist heritage, Bethel College emphasizes service to others as evidence and fruit of our faith. When students give of themselves to serve others, they find that their spiritual life is deepened, stretched and challenged. Service is a tangible expression of faith. The Bethel community encourages, fosters and provides regular opportunities for students of all religious backgrounds to practice service on campus, in the community, and around the globe.
Service – on campus
Living on a small campus with about 420 residential students offers great opportunities to serve one another. In fact, from day one, residence hall directors, faculty and staff help you move in. Bethel’s impressive 9:1 student-faculty ratio encourages undivided attention from professors. And living in a small community means that Bethel students take ownership in caring about their community. Students take care of one another and their surroundings because they care.
Service – in the community
Some students voluntarily serve throughout the school year with organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters; local homes for troubled youth, disabled people or retired folks; and at the local homeless shelter. Others volunteer in periodic service initiatives led by Service Corps, the student organization dedicated to volunteer work. Many students, staff and faculty members participate in Bethel’s annual Service Day each spring or fall. After the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the Bethel community spent eight hours packaging meals for earthquake relief, sponsored by the local charity Numana Inc.
Service – around the globe
At Bethel College, you’ll frequently hear the term “VS,” or voluntary service, which historically is a common post-graduation activity for Mennonites. Voluntary service assignments can range from teaching at inner-city schools to helping farmers find markets for their crops, and from working in health care in communities of need to providing office and other support for any number of agencies. Volunteer assignments are just that – unpaid – but typically include a living stipend and the opportunity to live in a community house with other volunteers.
Within the Mennonite community, a number of organizations offer service opportunities in the region, across the United States and abroad to Mennonites and non-Mennonites alike:
Service – after Bethel
Bethel College prepares its students to embrace an attitude of service in whatever role they take after graduation, be it traditional voluntary service or a career. Our alumni can be found serving others at work – in schools, hospitals, nonprofit agencies, research labs, churches – as well as in their everyday lives.