Incoming students serve the community through Buddy Backpack

Each summer, a herd of incoming camels storm Campbell’s campus to receive an exclusive glance into campus life during June and July orientation weekends. The class of 2023 met fellow students, toured campus, spoke with faculty and checked out clubs and organizations.

The office of annual giving was well represented during this summer’s orientation by Skylar Raynor, one of our student call team members. Skylar, a rising sophomore and psychology major served as an orientation leader for both June and July sessions. As an orientation leader, Skylar helped her group of over 20 incoming students navigate the orientation schedule.

Revealing a heart for serving others, Skylar says one of her favorite components of orientation is the annual service project. For the past four years, Campbell Admissions has partnered with Buddy Backpack to assemble care packages for children in Harnett County.

The Buddy Backpack program provides food to local school children who have little or nothing to eat on the weekends. Donated food items are packed in backpacks to be sent home to children in need. This year, incoming students worked together in small groups to assemble 3,000 bags for local school kids.

Skylar didn’t stop at coordinating her group’s assembly line; she wanted to make certain that her group not only completed the action of service but understood the why of their participation in the project.

So in a small slot of free time between scheduled events, Skylar fit in a discussion to debrief and reflect. Students discussed Buddy Backpack, the rural community’s needs, past service projects orientation group members have been involved in and the impact of service.

“Service is at the heart of Campbell,” Skylar told the room. “One of my favorite things about Campbell is the overall community engagement.”

Conversation moved to practical ways students can be service-minded daily. Ideas rang out around the room: open the door for people, help a classmate find their next class, help a staff member carry a box (even if you’re running late to lunch).

Skylar’s attitude of practical, everyday service is simple, really: actively seek opportunities to serve others. Put other people first.

Students like Skylar, servant leaders who fulfill our mission by engaging in meaningful service, are impacting Harnett County now and will go out and impact the world after graduation. We are proud to be part of a university that encourages service as early as orientation.