In case anyone wondered why an unusually high number of young adults in neon T-shirts were spotted seemingly everywhere in Whitley County recently, here’s why.

Approximately 1,500 students, faculty, and staff from University of the Cumberlands put their faith into action by serving the community through Cumberlands’ second annual Pats Serve event. Volunteers completed more than 50 projects at 35 locations around the area this Pats Serve. Organizations served included local schools, churches, animal shelters, public parks, recovery centers, health clinics, foster care ministries, and food banks, among others.

Pats Serve is an annual event hosted by the University in which students, faculty, and staff set aside time during the class day in order to perform community service together. Cumberlands was founded on Christian principles and seeks to continue enriching students with these values through events like Pats Serve.

O’Brian Black, a freshman at Cumberlands, said, “It’s pretty fun, being out here and helping the community. I like to serve people. Anything you do can make a difference. Especially for people who have never served before, events like Pats Serve help them broaden their basis.”

Before the service projects commenced, Dr. Larry Cockrum, President of the University, welcomed students to Pats Serve.

“I am proud of each and every one of you here today,” Dr. Cockrum said. “I believe serving others helps prepare you to lead others. It’s been my experience that the happiest people I know are the people who serve.”

Chad Everhart, Chair of the Department of Missions & Ministry, explained the heart behind Pats Serve to the students.

“Jesus Christ laid down his life to free us from the slavery of sin,” Everhart said. “This is the Gospel. Today’s culture tells us things like ‘Exploit people as necessary,’ ‘Exalt and promote yourself,’ and ‘Other people are in your way.’ God’s ways are the opposite of that. Our hope and prayer on this day of service is that we would all be humbled by Him and that Pats Serve is not only an opportunity for you to learn and experience Christian service, but is also a chance to worship Christ.”

In a world often preoccupied with trivial pursuits, Cumberlands is trying to instill a heart for service in their students. Pats Serve events (neon t-shirts included) are one way the school hopes to do that.