University shows love, reaches out to Belton community

Published in the February 22, 2017 issue of The Bells

The Belton and Temple communities have been impacted by the university and student-led events, since the university moved to Belton in 1886. As the university grows larger, more and more students are reaching out to the community to provide help and support.
Through different programs like Reaching Out and the BSM’s many ministries, the community has benefited from students’ labor and love for the town our university calls home. Students have visited places like Belton Christian Youth Center, Cedar Brake Retreat Center, Temple Animal Shelter, and Hope for the Hungry to help the community and these businesses.
“Throughout the years, all the students that have volunteered have been extremely helpful,” said Dawn Hartman, the ACO of the Temple Animal Shelter, “We appreciate all the school has done.”

Students have volunteered at the local shelter and have helped clean kennels, clean up the yard area, and spent time loving on the shelter’s animal residents. Recently, the campus organization Circle K went to the shelter and helped with what they could.
Students also helped at the Cedar Brake Catholic Retreat Center, which is an area for private retreats for churches. At the last Reaching Out event held in the fall of 2016, 15 students painted many of the large porches on the site. The center would gladly welcome students back in a heartbeat.
“We are very fortunate to be a recipient of their help. We got a lot more done with their help,” said Cedar Brake Director Brian Egan, “It is just like the verse on their shirts said, ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.’”

Another off-campus site that has greatly benefited from the university is the Miller Spring Nature Center. The nature center is an asset to the community, so the help UMHB students bestow upon it is appreciated. UMHB students have helped mostly with physical labor at the center — removing obstacles so hikers can pass through the trails easily, and restoring the environment by planting and spreading native grass seeds.
“The university [students] are the best at doing this work. It’s a partnership that we value,” said Rene Berkhoudt, the Miller Spring Nature Center’s coordinator.
Dr. George Loutherback, university chaplain, said the community members often contact him praising the students’ contributions.

“We get letters all the time thanking us for coming and doing and being and its put UMHB in a light to where is it helpful and not just existing in its own little boundaries,” said Dr. Loutherback.
These businesses are not the only ones that have been impacted by the university. There are fans of the school all around the campus and in town.
Debbie Colpitts and her husband are huge fans of the UMHB football team and have been season ticket holders for a while. Her husband even attended the championship celebration and put the picture of him and Fred Fredenburg on his Facebook page.
“We love [UMHB],” Colpitts said. “We enjoy being in Belton and supporting the teams.”
Kelly Boggs, director of development, has been a fan of UMHB since he graduated in 1985. From sporting events to theatre events Boggs says he attends many events held on campus.
“From the outside looking in, the school has grown and the economic impact has grown,” Boggs said, “it’s not just in sporting events but also in cultural events that the community is very involved in. It has really enhanced [UMHB] a lot.”
Over the years, the university has done many things for the surrounding areas, and the community has showed it appreciation. As UMHB continues to grow and expand, more and more of the community will be impacted.

Author: Madeline Oden

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