Nonprofit Buckner International and Howard Payne University recently announced the launch of a collaboration to give students opportunities to better serve their communities and learn about ministry and service. Buckner and HPU will work together to provide volunteer and missions opportunities, humanitarian aid drives and enhanced experiential learning opportunities for HPU students.
The new arrangement was formalized by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Dr. Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner International, and Dr. Cory Hines, president of HPU. The university welcomed Dr. Reyes to campus as a special guest on February 12, the day the MOU was signed. Dr. Reyes spoke at HPU’s Chapel service that morning as well as at a special luncheon for HPU personnel and guests.
“This collaboration with Howard Payne University allows students to experience true servant leadership while on mission,” said Dr. Reyes. “Encouraging students to give back to those in need will support HPU’s ongoing goal of building an inspired, caring and Christ-like community within the university.”
Howard Payne University is a Christ-centered academic community dedicated to equipping students for intellectual inquiry, integrity and service to God and humanity, while the mission of Buckner is to serve the vulnerable through Christ-centered values. This alignment opens a multitude of volunteer opportunities including international and domestic missions, shoe drives and other forms of aid.
“This is a perfect fit between two Christ-centered institutions with distinguished histories and ongoing vitality,” said Dr. Hines. “This new arrangement will open the door for HPU and Buckner to impact the lives of even greater numbers of people in meaningful, lasting ways.”
Per the agreement, HPU will “provide Buckner with student volunteers, mission volunteers and humanitarian aid drives.” The broad categories of service include shoe drives and mission trips. More specific areas of collaboration will include HPU’s creation of credit and non-credit opportunities for students to intern and train at Buckner ministry locations for experiential learning in Texas and internationally.
In turn, Buckner will work with HPU students in campus mission organizations to serve Buckner clients and assist Buckner personnel. Buckner will also provide support and orientation, working within international and domestic leadership to find opportunities for HPU students to serve vulnerable children, families and senior adults.
Rachel Derrington Bourke, assistant professor of social work at HPU and director of the university’s social work program, enjoyed the day’s special events and looks forward to the opportunities the new collaboration will provide.
“We were thrilled to have Dr. Reyes on campus,” she said. “His global leadership in providing services to heal children and families is inspirational to our faculty, staff and students. Our agreement with Buckner will give us more opportunities to bring hope and promote social justice to many communities. Our collaboration will give our students valuable experiential learning experiences and foster their development both spiritually and intellectually.”
HPU’s president shared his appreciation of the university’s new collaborators and the far-reaching impact the arrangement will have.
“I have had great respect for Dr. Reyes and the entire Buckner International organization for many years,” said Dr. Hines. “On behalf of the entire Howard Payne University family, I express our enthusiasm for this new collaboration and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”