Union College students cut class on Thursday for a good cause. Their 29th annual day of service, Project Impact, kicked off just before 9:00 a.m., sending hundreds of college students to help out at more than 50 local organizations.
Every year it starts with more than 800 Union College students and staff gathered under their campus clock tower, waiting to begin a day off-campus helping others.
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler addressed the volunteers himself this year to show his appreciation.
"We're really glad to have you here in Lincoln, we love Union College," Beutler said.
And the mayor's not the only thankful one. Deputy Director of the Lincoln Children's Museum Evan Killeen says since the museum is a non-profit, they rely on the students to come back every year.
"It would be really tough to get this stuff done without them," Killeen said. "They're doing a lot of cleaning, washing tables, cleaning exhibits, handrails, those types of things. So it's not the most glorious, but it's all stuff that we really need."
Cassi Fitzpatrick was the leader of the Union College volunteers at the museum. She says it's her fourth year participating because she enjoys it so much.
"We've been working outside, cleaning off chairs, and some people are inside having fun at the exhibits, so it's just a great opportunity to serve the community," Fitzpatrick said.
One group of volunteer students worked in the Prescott Elementary School courtyard, planting and trimming so the kids can enjoy it, but that's not their only goal.
"Our goal is to uplift people and bring people to Christ, and I think that's our main focus and goal," volunteer Russell Higgins.
Union College says their idea for Project Impact is to make a positive impression on Lincoln and also to create opportunities for students to connect with local organizations, so they can volunteer long-term.