The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Liberty University’s School of Business will officially launch a residential Humanitarian Aid specialization this spring, a unique 15-credit hour area of study that will equip students to assist vulnerable populations plagued by natural and man-made disasters.With a growing demand for nonprofit employees, students enrolled in the Humanitarian Aid track will learn how to manage a supply chain, under-stand how organizations negotiate conflicts, and explore day-to-day operations of nonprofit and church ministry work.
“We want students to understand the flow of goods and materials and how to manage that during a crisis,” said Dr. Roger Bingham, department chair for general business.
Bingham and Associate Dean of Residential Programs Dr. Melanie Hicks sought guidance from Samaritan’s Purse, the largest evangelical humanitarian aid organization in the United States, to build the curriculum.
The mission of Samaritan’s Purse models the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10. Through a multitude of outreach procedures, the nonprofit shares the Good News by meeting the physical needs of various populations. International and domestic crisis response, feeding and nutritional programs, and health and medical sup-port are among the many ministries performed. The nonprofit is headed by Franklin Graham, a long-time supporter and frequent visitor to Liberty; he last spoke at Convocation this fall.
“Samaritan’s Purse is an organization that is well-versed in all types of relief, and obviously the Christian element it provides is certainly the kind of environment I want our students working in,” Bingham said. “It’s amazing how we get to pour into our students, and then they take their classroom knowledge and go out and apply it in an organization like Samaritan’s Purse.”
The new specialization will give students the academic and practical knowledge to be affective servant leaders in the ministry.
“We’ve found that Liberty students are a great fit for Samaritan’s Purse,” said Stephen Rhoads, director of campus relations at the nonprofit. “Liberty students have terrific attitudes, strong work ethics, and they’re really eager to get out there and be Champions for Christ and use their skills to help a hurting world.”
Rhoads, who spear-heads the internship and apprentice program at Samaritan’s Purse, said students who are equipped with nonprofit experience and a strong hunger for ministry are difficult to find.
“If Liberty can produce these kinds of students, that would be a tremendous thing,” he said. “We are big fans of Liberty. We love what Liberty is doing. We love the students, and we’ve had great experiences with them year after year.”
LU Send, Liberty’s disaster relief initiative, regularly partners with Samaritan’s Purse for short-term trips. Additionally, Liberty supports the organization’s Operation Christmas Child ministry by collecting and packing shoeboxes full of gifts and necessities for impoverished children around the world. The Operation Christmas Child Club is one of Liberty’s most popular Student Government Association organizations and regularly collects hundreds of shoeboxes each Christmas season for the cause. (Read more about the club’s efforts this year.) Since its inception in 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed over 100 million shoeboxes.
“We need good employees and future leaders in ministry who have a good, strong skillset and who are firm believers,” Rhoads said. “Having students trained through this new specialization is extremely valuable. But this will hopefully benefit a lot of other organizations, because there’s a market for those kinds of students.”
“This provides a great combination of solid academics and an opportunity to live out a heart of service to those in desperate situations,” Bingham added. “I’m incredibly thrilled to see how this new area of study will benefit the future leaders of ministry.”
If you want more content like this, support local journalism by purchasing the Times Virginian newspaper at a local newsstand or subscribing at www.timesvirginian.com/subscriber_services to receive the print edition and/or e-edition version.