September 10, 2017:   A group of 26 Southwestern Adventist University students, faculty and staff as well as a local fire chief, spent Labor Day weekend in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

The Cleburne Times-Review reported that the group worked to repair The Oaks Adventist Christian school in the community of Cypress, just outside Houston.

Other volunteers as well as SWAU alumni joined the students in Cypress. The group totaled almost 300.

Students and others on the SWAU campus gathered supplies for the Harvey relief effort. They worked with organizations including Adventist Community Services to raise funds to help those affected by the storm. Students also helped ACS assemble Disaster Relief Kits for those in need.

Many students at SWAU had family that were directly affected by Harvey.

“Being here at school [in Keene] watching everyone back home lose everything just broke my heart,” said SWAU sophomore Kimberly Torres who is from the city of Victoria which is located just 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

Torres reached out to her network of friends and gathered a pile of relief supplies that was so large that she needed assistance getting it all to Victoria.

SWAU’s spiritual life and development office organized a number of disaster response efforts including the loading of supply trucks bound for Houston with supplies.

“We’ve been witness to such a spirit of camaraderie,” SWAU President Ken Shaw said. “We’re working on these projects, and we’ve got community members jumping in, and our own alumni coming to help. It is wonderful to see our legacy of service in action.”

Located in Keene, Texas, SWAU is one of 13 Adventist colleges and universities in the United States. It is owned by the Southwestern Union Conference of the Adventist denomination. It has a student population of about 800.

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