GWU Student Wins State Farm Community Service Scholarship


CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( - Gardner-Webb University junior Adam Barnes (Gastonia, N.C.) has been named the winner of the Big South Conference's second annual State Farm Community Service Scholarship.  Barnes, a mission studies major, was presented a $2,500 scholarship Thursday night at the Conference's Spring Meetings Awards and Hall of Fame Dinner, which was held at the Westin Resort Hotel on Hilton Head Island, S.C. 

Now in its second year, students from all member institutions within the Big South Conference submitted applications for this scholarship, with the selection based on participation in a leadership role in community service activities and volunteer work; academic grade point average; and the content of an essay detailing the type of community service program/activity the candidate would create given an opportunity to do so.  A committee of Big South Conference administrators and State Farm executives determined the recipient of this annual award.

In his application essay, Barnes shared his experience as a Prison Fellowship Coordinator and desire to "create a program designed to assist released inmates adjust back into their homes and communities.  This program would help these individuals who have been away from their families and friends for months and years to get reacquainted with those individuals in a positive manner."

Why does Barnes have a passion for this?  Through his experience, he learned that "...a prisoner's rehabilitation goes beyond their time spent in a prison cell.  Because life is tough, and when one has been out of the loop for a while, it's even more difficult. ...Individuals need to experience love."

"Adam's leadership in community service has blossomed this year as he has been the student coordinator of our campus chapter of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an organization in which he has been involved since his freshman year," says Tracy Jessup, Vice President for Christian Life & Service at Gardner-Webb.  "Adam coordinates a team of college student volunteers who make monthly visits to lead chapel services at a prison in Spartanburg (South Carolina). ...It is sometimes easy for students to find the motivation to volunteer in more glamorous settings or places which are sure to garner attention.  That has never been Adam's desire."

"It truly is a delightful honor to receive this scholarship.  While the extra money and the recognition is certainly nice, it is even more refreshing and exciting to know that State Farm, a company this big, is very intentional about being servants of the community," said Barnes.  "Community service is invaluable to our society and it's beyond encouraging to witness how much State Farm advocates assisting our communities."

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