Anderson University encourages students to become involved in various service activities. One large outlet for service is through the Campus Ministries program. Currently, there are 12 different campus ministries run by student leaders at AU. Director of Campus Ministries Stuart Erny has been overseeing the program for almost 10 years. One of the groups Erny works with is Advocacy and Awareness, otherwise known as A+A.
A+A is a ministry based on issues of social justice. Students in the group focus on learning about a variety of topics before they branch out to educate the rest of the campus.
Part of the group's mission is also to raise money to donate to charity; most of the time this is achieved through annual events. “One of the events we did this year was the Leaves and Lights benefit concert,” said Rachael Huddy, student coordinator of A+A. This event raised money for Invisible Children's Schools for Schools initiative. The group raised almost $200, all of which was donated to a school in Uganda to help child soldiers and orphaned children.
[Photo: Wendy and the Lost Boys (Kirsten Milliron, Josh Shoemaker, and Cyrus Forbes) perform at the Leaves and Lights benefit concert.]
A+A led a clothing drive for Dove Harbor, a safe haven for women and children in need. They also partnered with The Christian Center for Reality Check, an event where students and people in the community camped in tent cities to raise awareness of homelessness.
Besides events, the group also meets once a week to discuss current issues. Last semester, the focus was on food. As a way to further understand their theme, they gathered at a volunteer’s house and watched the movie “Food Inc.”
“We’re focusing on consumption and awareness,” said Huddy. The group specifically examined the aspects of fair trade, immigration, food laws, and corporate corruption.
Every year, A+A also sponsors two of the multiple chapel sessions on campus. Their last chapel hosted the founders of Exodus House, a ministry that recognizes the cycles of addiction, poverty, unemployment, apathy, and criminality.
Sophomore psychology major Faith Kellermeyer joined A+A her freshman year to make a difference and meet new people. “A+A has created some amazing connections for me,” said Kellermeyer. “Regardless of your ideas about politics or religion, everyone can find common ground in loving and helping others.”
[Photo: AU students gather around a table during the Leaves and Lights benefit concert.]
This mentality is precisely what Huddy and Erny want students to gain from this organization. “In our age everybody wants to be radical in some form and make a difference, but I feel like some people don’t think they individually can do anything,” said Huddy. “But the main thing that makes me passionate about it is knowing that I, as just one person, can make a difference. Then that has a ripple effect.”
Erny described A+A as an organization that takes issues and makes them personal. This, in turn, can change how one acts, thinks, and feels. “We can’t all be passionate about every issue,” said Erny. “But just open your heart and see what really gets in and go with that.”
A+A gives AU students an outlet for their passion and a venue to advocate for the issues happening around them. Currently, the group has around eight to 10 regular members, but up to 20 volunteers for events. They are trying to focus on growth and welcome anyone who is interested to attend their meetings.
“If you just believe that you, as a single person, can effect change, I think that’s huge, and it’s contagious,” said Huddy.
— Aimee Munn is a junior from Indianapolis, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in political science and history. Munn is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.