The Student Volunteer Services, or SVS, at Presbyterian College allows students to fulfill PC’s motto, “Dum Vivimus Servimus” meaning While We Live, We Serve. In the mid 1960s, Dr. Jack Renard Presseau, author of While We Live, We Serve: the Student Volunteer Service Movement of Presbyterian College and creator of PC’s Christian-Education Program, founded SVS here at PC and points out that PC’s motto “is a succinct version of founder William Plumer Jacob’s motto to do ‘great things…for God.’ Student Volunteer Service is the incarnation of both mottos.” The SVS program offers PC students, faculty, and staff numerous opportunities to fully embody these mottos by getting involved in serving the community on and off campus.
Currently, SVS supports sixteen different service programs that are divided into two categories of ongoing programs and one-time events. The ongoing programs include: Habitat for Humanity, Project Hope, Bailey Manor/Laurens Memorial, Thornwell Big Brother/Big Sister, Presbyterian Community, Thornwell Recreation, and Laurens Safe Home/PC-V. These ongoing programs are support by SVS all year long. For example, students involved in the Thornwell Big Brother/Big Sister Program, and the Presbyterian Community volunteer on a weekly basis. Students who are a Thornwell big brother or sister are assigned to mentor a child at Thornwell’s Home for Children, located across the street from PC’s campus, and meet with them once a week. Students involved in the Presbyterian Community meet every Thursday at 11am and go to the Presbyterian Home, an independent retirement home, to visit with the residents and participate in fun activities such as bingo, crafts, and card games. Essentially, SVS allows students to get involved not only on PC’s campus but also in the Clinton community.
In addition to supporting local programs, SVS raises awareness and support for nation-wide organizations. These one-time events supported by SVS include: Special Olympics, Up ‘Till Dawn, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, Delete Blood Cancer, Operation Christmas Child, Happy Wheels (Toy Drive), and MLK Service Day. While the majority of these events only occur once or twice a year, students work extremely hard to coordinate these events year-round. According to Rachel Parson-Wells, Director of Religious Life and Service, “The level of passion that PC students have for service and the support from faculty is incredible. It really contributes to
the culture of our small-knit community. The support system at PC is truly special—a bond that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.”
Essentially, SVS is more than a student led volunteer club—it’s a way to embody PC’s motto and learn the unique art of helping others. Through SVS, students obtain skills that can utilize for a lifetime in their future communities beyond PC. Current Senior and SVS facilitator Lauren Bazemore says, “Over the past 4 years, I have adopted the mindset that I want to contribute to sustaining PC’s legacy in some small way. I have discovered that the best way to preserve such a meaningful legacy of caring for others is by actively volunteering myself and making it a personal priority—SVS has allowed me to do just that.”
“They are part of SVS—reminding everyone that Dum Vivimus Servimus is more than a motto.” –Dr. Jack Renard Presseau