There will be no changes to the Mark 10:45 program for the upcoming year, Student Development staff confirmed this week. Recent rumors that the program might be ending worried some students and staff, and left smaller departments like the Theatre department scrambling.
Abigail Degraaf, head of publicity for the Theatre department, said that the department is often shorthanded despite the help they already receive from Mark 10:45 volunteers.“We are such a small department,” said DeGraaf. “We are pulled so thin during shows that we depend on our Mark 10:45 students to help us sell tickets and usher. Even then, we are still shorthanded.”
Dean Voyles denied rumors that the program was ending via email on Wednesday. “There have been no conversations nor considerations regarding eliminating the program or making changes for next year,” he said.
The program, started in 1956, has had many variations such as Practical Work and Practical Service. According to the college website, Mark 10:45 exists to give students an opportunity “to serve as Christ serves.” Incoming freshmen are assigned a department such as maintenance, advancement, or events and are required to work 15 unpaid hours per semester in that department. Failure to serve the required hours results in a Banner account hold, which prevents students from registering for classes and viewing grades.
Incoming students are required to work only 30 total hours due to recent changes to the program. Current juniors and seniors were required to serve a total of 45 hours over the course of their freshman and sophomore years, and a 2011-2012 student handbook shows that the college used to require full-time students to complete 30 service hours per year for their first three years. A 2009-2010 parents handbook mentions that students at the time were required to volunteer 60 hours per year for their first three years, with the exception of work study students.
Voyles pointed out that the cutbacks on service hour requirements in the past 10 years are due to Covenant’s steadily growing work study program. “The growth of the college’s student body, faculty and staff, and work study program have limited how much work was available for the Mark 10:45 program,” he said.
He also highlighted optional off-campus service opportunities. “To that end, we are so thankful for Professor Chris Robinson and his Project 52 group whom we have partnered with this past year in serving off campus,” said Voyles.