Community Engagement

The Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership’s mission is to promote the moral development of Samford students; to serve as a center of teaching excellence; to foster a university culture that values productive, moral discourse; to amplify other Samford initiatives in ethics and leadership; and to engage the professional and business communities for mutual learning and the advancement of ethical values and practices.

The Mann Center also provides oversight for community engagement initiatives between Samford and greater Birmingham. Contact Cameron Collins to learn more about these opportunities.

Community Engagement Report

Samford Gives Back+

Samford Gives Back is a campus-wide service initiative organized by a student-led team and The Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership. The mission of Samford Gives Back is to partner the Samford community with organizations that are working towards the betterment and restoration of the greater Birmingham community. Each Samford Gives Back volunteer will receive breakfast, t-shirt, and 4 convocation credits.


April 1, 2016—Registration Deadline

April 11 or 12th – Group Leader Training, 5-7pm in Divinity South 111

April 16, 2016-Samford Gives Back Day

  • 8 a.m.—Registration, breakfast, and devotional in Seibert Stadium (rainy location: Seibert Gym)
  • 8:30 a.m.—Depart for work sites
  • 9 a.m.—Arrive at work sites and begin service
  • 1 p.m.—Wrap-up service

*Note: SU ID cards will be swiped as students leave for their sites. Students must bring their ID cards in order to receive convo credit.

Group Registration

Group registration forms must be submitted no later than Friday, April 1 by midnight.

Most students who participate in Samford Gives Back will participate as part of a group. Groups may be registered student organizations or informal groups such as residence halls, friend groups, etc.

Each group must have a group leader who is willing to coordinate the service opportunity and register their group online by searching for the Mann Center through OrgSync. Group Leaders are also responsible for attending a training session on April 11th or 12th from 5-7pm in Divinity South 111.

Groups are responsible for finding their own sites at which to serve. Before contacting an organization, please notify Allison Nanni, to be sure that organization isn’t already lined up with another group.

Individual Registration

Don’t have a group, but want to participate in Samford Gives Back? Individuals can sign up for service sites from a list of options in Brooks 227 until April 1st.

Service Immersion Trips+

The Office of Student Leadership and Involvement sponsored two Spring Break Service Immersion trips in March 2015. Please visit the Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership online for 2016 trip options.

Give Kids the World, Orlando, Florida

Give Kids the World is a nonprofit storybook resort that offers cost-free fantasy vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. For these children, a typical week is filled with doctor's visits, treatments, pain, and medication, but at Give Kids the World, they are treated to a magical, memorable vacation where they can relax, have fun, and be a "normal kid. Volunteers play a crucial role in making Give Kids the World a place that inspires hope in children.

We will depart Birmingham in the morning on Sunday, March 15, and return in late evening on Friday, March 20.

As Volunteers at Give Kids the World, we will assist in multiple areas of the park. Sample responsibilities include serving ice cream for breakfast, assisting pony rides, face painting, helping put on plays and other entertainment programs, landscaping/maintenance, and more.

We will be staying at a hotel located near Give Kids the World. Each unit contains a full kitchen, so we will be cooking our own meals. Give Kids the World also provides light meal options for volunteers during their shifts.

During our afternoon off from volunteering, we will go to Epcot at Disney World.

The trip will cost $250. Half the cost is due at the time one is notified of their acceptance to the trip and the other half is due at the beginning of the spring semester. Students may also pay the full amount on the front end if they so desire. Participants should bring additional money for travel meals.

Learn more

Heifer International, Perryville, Arkansas

Heifer Ranch’s Alternative Break focuses on the core components of an introduction to Heifer International, service learning, educational activities and taking action. This is obtained through a variety of experiential activities such as team-building development, educational sessions, overnight village experience and hands-on service projects—in our garden, maintenance and livestock departments. All are designed to increase your group’s understanding of the global hunger and poverty issues that Heifer International encounters in the field. By experiencing these activities, not only will your group grow and develop together, but they will gain a greater understanding of how Heifer creates lasting change in communities around the world.

We will depart Birmingham in the morning on Sunday, March 15, and return in late evening on Friday, March 20.

As Volunteers at Heifer International, we will assist in multiple areas of the ranch. Sample responsibilities include harvesting crops, milking a goat, landscaping/maintenance, and more.

We will be staying at the ranch, in a modern and climate-controlled lodge. Participants must bring their own bedding and towels - a mattress and bunk bed are provided. All meals, except during the global village experience, are served cafeteria style in the dining hall. Meals served in our dining hall are home-cooked hot meals prepared by our food service staff. Heifer Ranch strives to utilize sustainable farming practices and, in light of this goal, meals are prepared using seasonal Ranch products including vegetables, fruit and meat. Food service staff can accommodate standard food allergies (wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, peanuts) and vegetarians. Please make sure this information is listed on the group’s Needs Assessment and/or Roster forms. It is recommend that those with a strict vegan or other special diet, bring supplementary food, that they can store.

The Gift Shop at Heifer offers a variety of t-shirts and fair-trade products from around the world.

The trip will cost $200. Half the cost is due at the time one is notified of their acceptance to the trip and the other half is due at the beginning of the spring semester. Students may also pay the full amount on the front end if they so desire. Participants should bring additional money for travel meals.

Learn more

Application Process

Applications for Spring Break 2015 will become available at 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 16 and close on Thursday, November 13 at 5 p.m. Candidates will be notified of selection by Thursday, November 20 at 5 p.m.—if more applicants apply than spots available, a waiting list will be maintained.


Volunteer Opportunities+

Student liaisons serve as a crucial link between Samford University and the greater Birmingham community by connecting students with ongoing service opportunities at select community partner agencies. See below for a list of current volunteer opportunities.

East Lake United Methodist Church

Student Liaison: Andrew Feldewerth

East Lake United Methodist Church strives to meet the needs of Birmingham’s East Lake community by offering a variety of programs including an afterschool program for youth and a Saturday farmer’s market.

Exceptional Foundation

Student Liaison: Devynne Roahrig

The Exceptional Foundation provides year-round services to individuals with special needs who have reached the age of 21 and no longer receive services from school systems. E-mail Devynne to learn more about weekly service opportunities.

Habitat for Humanity

Student Liaison: David Osula

The Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity works to make quality, affordable housing solutions available to low-income families. E-mail David to learn more about monthly volunteer opportunities.

NorthStar Youth Ministries

Student Liaison: Katie Hill

The mission of NorthStar Youth Ministries is to help urban youth find their direction in life through high quality, holistic programs within a nurturing Christian environment. NorthStar relies on volunteers to run its soccer clubs, art classes, book clubs, Bible clubs, and tutoring program.

Restoration Academy

Student Liaisons: Lindsey Gannaway and Jillie Rufe

Volunteers at Restoration Academy work individually with students from remedial to accelerated and offer in-school and after-school tutoring. E-mail Lindsey and Jillie to learn more about weekly volunteer opportunities.

Turning Points

Student Liaison: Rachel Faith Garcia

Turning Points is a program that gives special education students a taste of college life at Samford University, transitions them out of high school, and helps develop social and job skills. This is an on-campus volunteer opportunity.

Salvation Army Angel Tree

Samford has participated in the Salvation Army Angel Tree for over a decade. This Christmas, Samford students, faculty, and staff are invited to adopt from our 75 "angels" by providing a child with gifts for the holidays. Our office will host a table where participants can find additional information and select an angel on the following dates:

  • November 10–14 and November 17–20 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. outside the bookstore
  • November 15 and 21 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. in the caf

Community Service Fair

Each fall, representatives from Birmingham-area nonprofits are invited to come to Samford’s campus and share opportunities for students to get involved. The event is designed to provide a forum for students to connect to volunteer and service opportunities and foster positive relationships between Samford and the greater Birmingham community. The fall 2014 Community Service Fair will take place on Thursday, September 18 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Ben Brown Plaza.

Service Cadres

Cadres are small, dialogue-based groups led by faculty, staff or administration, generally consisting of eight to 12 students. The purpose of cadres is to help students gain a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and its role in shaping their lives and our world. Service cadres are opportunities for Samford students to serve the Birmingham community. Students visit service sites once per week throughout the semester and can receive convocation credits for participating. Registration for service cadres is accessible through banner.

Request Volunteers