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An Impactful Spring Break

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Students at Camp IMPACT

An Impactful Spring Break

Spring Break with a purpose.

First-year students from the University of Oklahoma hit the road over Spring Break and traveled just a few miles north to Oklahoma City with one mission, to make an impact. A group of 30 students participated in OU’s third annual Camp IMPACT. Camp IMPACT allows students to take a look at the role of character in their lives and help them grow within Interpersonal, Moral, Personal, Action-oriented, and Civic Transformation – or IMPACT skills.

During Camp IMPACT, this year’s day of service focused on homelessness. The group served at City Rescue Mission, the largest homeless shelter in the state, and Positive Tomorrows, an elementary school that serves homeless children. Along with their volunteer work, students also visited the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial and had lunch with Ed Eckenstein, a survivor of the bombing.

Lillian Miller is the Assistant Dean of University College at OU. She said Camp IMPACT is a self-development opportunity for students as they learn how to become more critical and reflective individuals and how they can apply concepts learned at camp in their futures.

Students at Camp Impact

“This is an engaging, learning environment,” Miller said. “It is an opportunity for them not to only give back but to delve into themselves a little more deeply at a very crucial point in that first year of college as they are trying to set a path forward. This helps give them tools to do that and to gauge when they are being true to that and when they’re veering off. It gives them ways to kind of align again with their purpose and with their mission and what they’re trying to accomplish not only in college but also throughout their lives.”

The camp without a doubt made an impression on those who attended. At the end of camp, the students each wrote their own impact statements, or how they want to make a difference and impact in their futures.

For Thomas Deppong, a public and nonprofit administration major who plans to attend medical school, he wants to “empower children to achieve their potential and pursue their dreams.”

Currently, Deppong volunteers at Loveworks Leadership and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and he said camp not only inspired him to be more intentional with his interactions with others and more reflective about his life but also to share some of what he has learned at camp with the students he works with.

“It has inspired me to be more intentional with them as well and make sure I’m really thinking about how much influence I have on them and how to impact them in the best possible way,” shared Deppong, who is from Okemos, Michigan. “I want to take what I have learned and share it with the children I work with.”

Jacob Genuise is a meteorology major from Little Elm, Texas. He also recognized the opportunity to carry on his growth and experiences beyond camp.

“I think I have a new perspective on what’s out there and what I can do to better the world,” Genuise said. “In college so far, I think it’s been a lot about personal growth, which is great, and I want to continue that. At the same time, I think I’ve been blind to some opportunities that I’ve had to help the community out not just in Norman but here in OKC too, so I really want to continue that after camp.”

Camp IMPACT is hosted by OU’s University College in partnership with the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing. This institute provides a way for the university to explore, measure, teach, and train virtue.