Missouri Baptist University is located in St. Louis, MO and is part of the Missouri Baptist Convention with an enrollment of over 5,000 students.
VOMO chatted with Aaron Lumpkin, Director of Faith and Service at Missouri Baptist, about how VOMO is helping them with their Service Days.
What is an aspect of serving that your school is passionate about?
We are intentional about outreach because we want to be a positive voice and serve in our local community. Our students are incredibly busy but have a desire to serve and meet tangible needs. For this upcoming service project we will be working with Meals for a Million and will have four hours to pack 25,000 meals.
150-200 volunteers will participate over the course of four hours, and there will be fun competitions and giveaways. The meals that are packed will go to local food banks, local churches for outreach opportunities, and a few will go to our food pantry on campus called the “Sharing Shop”. The sharing shop is kind of like a food pantry, but is designed to also be a kind of community store that can provide for other practical needs.
In the past, what has been a challenge in organizing students and how does VOMO solve that problem?
We love VOMO. I can’t say that enough. One thing that was hard when I moved into this role, before we started using VOMO, was that people were desiring opportunities but we did not have a place to promote volunteering. Trying to manage that could easily be a full-time job.
VOMO has created a platform to both promote service opportunities and to provide opportunities for partnerships with local organizations. We are also able now to track how students are engaged on campus and in the local community. Last year alone we logged over 4,200 service hours. We have even incorporated VOMO into our Freshman and Senior Seminar courses that require service hours.
One really great project we were able to participate in was stuffing backpacks for kids. We then took a team of students to Ghana where they delivered 125 of the backpacks to children in a rural school there. The remaining 375 backpacks went to foster homes and to kids living in shelters in the St. Louis area. VOMO was the platform that enabled all of that to happen.
How is VOMO helping you engage and manage your volunteers?
We launched VOMO in the Spring of 2019 for one of our service days, so this is our first academic year using it. VOMO helped a lot during student orientation, where we use a lot of volunteers. Also…we don’t have a staff person dedicated to tracking service hours, so we needed something efficient and effective and VOMO has been perfect for that.
What kind of impact have you seen or are you excited to see by unleashing your students to serve?
We have students that come from a wide variety of backgrounds. As a school with a distinct Christian mission, it’s exciting to see students that don’t share our spiritual convictions join in the service opportunities. There is something transformational that makes relationships grow really deep and authentic when you lock arms and serve together around a common purpose.
We’re trying to develop a culture of service on campus and off campus. One of our core values is Social Change, which incorporates both service and leadership. We want to see our students grow into servant leaders who are engaged in their communities and are impacting society for the greater good. VOMO has played a huge role in that by managing the logistical and administrative aspects of service so that we can focus on cultivating students.