Briar Cliff University Connects With Joyful Service
December 13, 2022
Various organizations and members at Briar Cliff University are engaging in the Christmas spirit and are hosting gift drives this holiday season. The university placed an emphasis on joyful service this academic year, one of the core Franciscan values.
The Men of Color and Women of Color organizations have partnered with Launchpad Museum to provide a Christmas party for 30 children who attend the Native American Children Center. Launchpad will host a party with various activities. “The Christmas party and toy drive is the most important event we do all year,” said Patrick Gassant, President of Men of Color at Briar Cliff University. “It is always important to remember everyone wants to feel special, with the Christmas party, we are doing that for those children.” Both student organizations worked diligently to collect and wrap gifts to give to the children at the party.
Briar Cliff senior Conor Ryan has hosted a toy drive for the last three years to benefit the Siouxland community. “In previous years, the drive was funded entirely through small donations from people in the Siouxland community as well as outside of it,” said Ryan. “This year, in addition to donations from individuals, we are hoping to partner with local businesses for whatever they are able to contribute.” The drive has shifted from a toy drive to a general holiday drive that prioritizes toys. It will benefit children and adults in the Gospel Mission homeless shelter, SafePlace, and the Warming Shelter.
Social Work and the Nursing program have also collaborated to hold a boot drive. “We are so excited that the nursing and social work departments have partnered to collect boots and shoes for the warming shelter,” said Melanie Berte-Hickey, associate professor of social work. Briar Cliff nursing students currently run a foot clinic at the Warming Shelter in Sioux City and the patients they meet have inspired them. “Students have noticed that many of the individuals that visit the shelter have shoes that are torn, tattered, too small, or too big for their feet,” said Courtney Ott, associate professor of nursing. “The students want to give back to the community and serve others, thus the idea for the drive.”
Campus ministry is hosting its Siouxland Residential Christmas party, a tradition that started back in the early 2000s. This is the event’s first year since the pandemic began and will serve members of organizations such as MidStep Services and Opportunities Unlimited. Over a hundred guests will be attending, with attendees receiving gifts from BCU students and employees. “With this being the year that we are focusing on connecting with joyful service, it just turned out to be great timing to bring this tradition back to The Cliff,” said Jason Salisbury, director of Campus Ministry.
A number of angel trees and other donation drives have been encouraged with employee and student participation, further supporting various causes in the Siouxland community.