What is SERVE?
LCU’s SERVE program provides week-long and weekend trips for students to grow spiritually, socially, and professionally as they engage in a variety of ministry activities in local, national, or international contexts. Week-long trips are available each fall and spring during scheduled breaks, and weekend trips are available each fall and spring during select weekends.
Are SERVE trips required?
Yes. LCU’s mission is to train servant leaders, and our SERVE programming provides opportunities for students to encounter God, see where he is at work in the world, and engage in that work with him. The intensive experience of a SERVE trip engages a student’s gifts and passions, shapes their heart, develops their character, and teaches valuable life lessons. Above all else, SERVE trips are a unique opportunity to glorify and pay witness to God.
How many SERVE trips must a student take part in?
Two SERVE trips are required of all students taking 12 or more semester hours and are not enrolled in an online degree program. The two-trip requirement can be fulfilled at any point prior to a student’s senior year. Transfer students who apply 60+ hours to an LCU degree are required to take part in only one SERVE trip. Students should register for the section of CM 102 that corresponds to their SERVE trip. Any and all possibilities for exemptions, alternative trips, independent trips, or deferrals must be vetted and approved by the Student Services Department.
How does a student choose their SERVE trip?
Students are invited to view the link above to see what trips are offered in both the Fall and the Spring. Next, students submit an application in which they list two preferred trips and the reasons those trips are preferred. Students should prayerfully consider how each trip aligns with their gifts, talents, and budget. For many students, it’s important that parents be involved in the decision-making process.
Is a student guaranteed a spot on the SERVE trip they want?
Once a student has submitted their SERVE trip application, that application is sent to the leader of the trip that the student listed as their first choice. That leader will either accept that student on their SERVE team or return it to the Student Services Department. Leaders evaluate all applications based on a variety of factors related to their service site’s needs: gifts, class rank, gender (for lodging purposes), and/or field of study or experience. Applications that are returned to Student Services are then forwarded to the leader of the trip the student listed as their second choice, and the process is repeated.
While most students are accepted by their first choice, there are some who are not. This is typically due to the popularity of the trips chosen, the needs at that service site, or even the quality of the application submitted. On the rare occasion a student is not accepted to either of their choices, the student will be asked to submit a new application, listing new choices from the trips that remain open.
When a student is accepted to a trip and has registered for the corresponding CM 102 course number, they are obligated for the cost of the trip. Trips are budgeted on an expected number of students per team, and the loss of any student increases cost for his or her teammates. The SERVE trip deposit and all other trip costs are non-refundable.
How much does a SERVE trip cost?
With trips to local, national, and international service sites available, there are experiences to fit every budget. There are trips that cost as little as $150, and all trips are less than $3,500.
How do I pay for a SERVE trip?
All charges for a SERVE trip go on a student’s school account, so that financial aid can help cover costs. Students are encouraged to raise support to cover their trip costs through fundraising activities and by reaching out to friends, family, and churches. Click here to view a sample letter of support.
Are SERVE trip contributions tax deductible?
No. Donations to cover the costs of a SERVE trip are applied directly to a student’s account. This is not the same as a tax-deductible donation to a non-profit organization. This is a donation to a specific individual to cover educational expenses.
What if a student doesn’t know what their enrollment status will be in the fall or spring?
If a student has any uncertainty about their full-time status at LCU in either the Fall or the Spring semester, they should not apply for a SERVE trip. If they do end up returning to LCU, options will be substantially limited, as most teams will be full. However, the Student Services Department will assist the student in finding an available SERVE trip. Again: When a student is accepted to a trip and has registered for the corresponding CM 102 course number, they are obligated for the cost of the trip. Trips are budgeted on an expected number of students per team, and the loss of any student increases cost for his or her teammates. The SERVE trip deposit and all other trip costs are non-refundable.
Other Frequently-asked Questions:
Can a student change their SERVE trip?
In submitting an application, a student agrees to the trip’s commitment policy: “By submitting my application and registering for the corresponding CM 102 course number, I indicate that I understand that I am committed to the trip listed above for which my application is accepted, and I am responsible for all trip expenses, regardless of when the charge shows on my student account or when the money is due. I understand that I will be held to this commitment regardless of any change in my interest or circumstances, including withdrawal/dismissal from LCU or non-registration for the spring semester. Medical excuses may be accepted with a doctor’s note, but I will still be liable for non-refundable charges or for my contribution upon which the team is depending. I am confident that I can raise money to cover my trip contribution.”
The SERVE trip cost “per student” is based on a certain number of students in the trip. Reducing the number of students on the team raises the cost per student for each student on the trip, which would be an unfair burden to the team. Additionally, trip leaders choose students for the team based on their gifts, skills, talents, and/or class rank or gender for the team dynamic. The team is counting on each and every student’s contribution. And finally, leaders often receive more applications than they can accept. Other students were turned away from this trip because another student was accepted. It’s unfair to those who were not accepted for a student to gain a spot on a trip and then walk away from their obligation.
Do students need a passport?
Any student traveling outside the U.S., including destinations in Mexico and Canada, needs a passport. A student must apply for their passport as early as possible – no later than the end of fall semester for spring trips. This allows ample processing and mailing time to receive a passport. If a student is traveling outside the U.S., they will be turned away at the airport if they do not arrive with a passport, and their trip charges will not be refunded.
How does a student apply for a passport?
Instructions on how to apply for a passport can be found here.
Does a student need immunizations?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention makes recommendations regarding immunizations for travel outside the U.S. We strongly recommend that students follow the CDC’s recommendations, and we request a doctor’s note from students who elect not to follow those recommendations. A student may find recommendations for their travel destination on the CDC website by choosing their destination from the list.
Does a student need health insurance?
Students will be required to submit an Emergency Medical Information form that details a student’s emergency contact, allergies, and medical insurance prior to leaving on a SERVE trip. Students who do not have their own medical insurance will be required to purchase short-term insurance. Faith Ventures Travel Services provides affordable plans.
*If a student or a parent or guardian of a student has any additional questions concerning SERVE, please submit them in an email to Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org, and all questions will be answered as soon as possible.