SHAWNEE—Several hundred Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) students, including freshmen, transfers and upperclassmen, as well as OBU employees, spent Monday morning, Aug. 22, serving the Shawnee community. The volunteers served at locations all around the community for OBU’s annual Serve Shawnee event, held the Monday before the fall semester begins.

Groups served at more than 20 locations around the community, including the Salvation Army, Rose Garden Park, Hope House, Will Rogers Elementary School, Santa Fe Depot Museum, Cargo Ranch, Mission Shawnee and the Japanese Peace Garden. OBU President Heath A. Thomas and First Lady Jill Thomas joined in and volunteered their time during the service project as well.

Serve Shawnee began more than 20 years ago as a way to give back to the Shawnee community and to teach OBU students the importance of local service. Each August, students venture into the community on a Monday morning to locations in and near Shawnee. Upperclassmen and staff lead the groups as they work on various projects including landscaping, painting, cleaning and more.

Serve Shawnee is part of Welcome Week, an annual tradition on Bison Hill where new students learn about OBU traditions, build lasting friendships and participate in fun activities together before classes begin. They spend time in small groups, learn the school chant “Ka-Rip” and take “The Walk” to officially bring them into the OBU family.

View the full Welcome Week schedule at

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