Recent grad honored with Jefferson Award for Public Service

Tue, 2013-08-06 09:13 -- caylorsolutions
Claire Brown
August 6, 2013

As she completed her senior year at Anderson University, 2013 graduate Claire Brown was recognized with a "Student of the Year" Jefferson Award for Public Service for her work with Kids Against Hunger, an international food charity. Brown, a Bible and religion major and Christian ministries minor, interned with the organization during the past year. Her experiences included a trip to Swaziland.

The Jefferson Awards exist to recognize and inspire people who have shown outstanding public service and volunteerism in their local communities. The awards honor individuals who have exhibited exceptional community service or charity efforts, and are presented at both the national and local level.

[Photo: Claire Brown interned last year with Kids Against Hunger.]

Christian ministries is not simply a course of study for Brown, but a lifestyle. Having participated in more than 16 mission trips and 10 international service projects, Brown’s passion for God and service has evident to others. Dr. Fred Shively, professor emeritus of religion, worked with Brown in South Africa and in various campus ministries. “She is a giving person and has real compassion for people who are hurting. Her life is one dedicated to serving God and serving others, and she lives it out beautifully,” said Shively.

Brown credits AU’s close-knit Christian community for the countless opportunities and ministries in which she served. Juggling her time between being a student and intern, Brown was also involved in eight campus ministries at AU.

“AU provided me with ministry tools, practical internships, and spiritual growth and ministry opportunities,” said Brown. “I don’t want to live my life for myself, but for the Lord. I want to live out the great commission and play a role in the Missio Dei (the mission of God).”

Shively believes AU’s curriculum and Christian community provides students the opportunities that make awards like this attainable. “Serving opportunities are the forefront of AU and have been since I was in school,” said Shively. “Servitude is part of AU’s DNA, and you can see it in the student body, faculty, and campus ministries.”

Brown continues to pursue opportunities for service beyond graduation. “I am going to serve in Ethiopia through a hospice program, which helps homeless street children, and an anti-slave trafficking ministry. I am currently raising funds as a missionary to move to Ethiopia in September to work with the Urban Poor team of CMF International,” said Brown.

Shively believes the key to happiness is service, selflessness, and servanthood. “The benefits are endless, and in my life I have learned the blessing in serving others. Learning to give to others is one of the blessings of life,” said Shively. “There is a joy and contagion about serving, and you can see it in the student body at AU. Students take initiative at AU, in their faith and service. If the students see a hurt or need in the community, they will create a ministry to reach it.”

Upon receiving an honor as prestigious as the Jefferson Awards, Brown reflects on the real reward of serving others. “My life is about going beyond myself and living for the Lord,” said Brown. “It’s not about my actions, my future, or my plans; it’s all about Christ living through me. I want my whole life to be devoted to service and missions.”

— Kristen Schaap is a 2013 graduate of Anderson University, majoring in communication arts. Schaap 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 about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.