This past fall break, Belmont University freshmen took a ‘plunge’ into the Nashville community and spent their time away from class completing community service around the city. Plunge is an annual, four-day immersion experience for first year students, meant to introduce them to the kind of disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith that Belmont values for its students. As a Christ-centered university, Belmont instills the importance of service to the community as early as possible.
Typical Plunge trips involve travelling to one of five different locations nationwide. However, with the lingering threat of COVID-19, this year’s trips focused on giving back to the local community in Nashville. Over the extended weekend, approximately 55 students, faculty and staff participated in the program, which offered service experiences with approximately 10 different ministries and organizations in Nashville and opportunities to build community with other first-year students.
“The Mission Engagement Council–the student leadership team–wanted to give students the same meaningful experience they would have if they were in another city. Since most first-year students are new to the city, it is a great way to introduce them to some of the amazing things happening here that they can get connected to throughout the year,” said Associate University Minister and Director of Spiritual Formation Christy Ridings.
Plunge helps to give students a new perspective into the community in which they live and learn.
“The hardest part of the service was learning about all of the injustices occurring in the world today. I was aware that many of these things were occurring; although, the extent that the people in my own community in Nashville are being affected is unreal,” said freshman Claire Falcone. “But, the most rewarding part of my service was learning more about organizations within my own community that are working with those who are neglected by society in some way.”
Falcone said she would recommend this trip for other first-year students because they will build relationships with other first year students. She said, “You can form strong connections with them while also obtaining connections with staff and upperclassmen who can help guide you through your career at Belmont. The people on the Plunge trip are devoted to you and want to form those relationships and want to pour into you even after the trip is over.”
Students interested in taking part on a mission trip can visit the Belmont on Mission webpage for more information. Mission trips typically take place over fall, winter, spring and summer breaks.