Education is not only about knowledge, but also an opportunity to contribute to mankind, Matthew Richardson, V.P. of advancement at BYU told the Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place. At the weekly meeting of the club, he said the core principle of Brigham Young University is to help individuals in their quest to be in a position to help others and improve their circumstances.
The university in Provo Utah was established in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it remains a faith based institution today. An education for the current enrollment of 33,000 students costs $5,000 a semester at BYU. The tuition is highly subsidized by the church, said Mr. Richardson, by funding 70 percent of it. That is considered a good investment for students who want to continue in the world, he said, by providing this opportunity so that they can then create opportunities for others.
Students are taught to see the world in a larger way, said Mr. Richardson. While enrolled, they participate in community projects through the “Y- Serve Center,” which aligns students to 67 different community programs or service organizations. They are not required to participate but some majors do require it. An example, he said, is accounting. Those majors help people who need it, to prepare income taxes. Academics are designed toward that goal of providing service. But, the majority of students volunteer, which he said is habit forming because serving others makes the student feel better about him and there is a snowball effect, he said. When a graduate leaves the university, he has a responsibility to go forward and serve.
One important service project organized by BYU students is “Village Drill.” This was the creation of a portable drill for wells, to provide clean, potable water throughout the world. The device is made of basic materials and costs just $475 to make. Transporting these drills to the destination, accounts for most of the cost. They are hand operated and can drill down to the water table. The fastest time to hit water was 20 hours and the longest it has taken, he said was 10 days. As of today, 2,300 wells have been drilled in 23 countries. He said this is an example of serving mankind without a commercial aspect, but for helping individuals to thrive and prosper. This service is a way to see humanity beyond our busy selves, he said.
Mr. Richardson said that he recognized similarities of BYU’s core principle to services that the Rotary Club provides. At the meeting on Wednesday, Sara Bailey was introduced to the club members. Her education at Chattanooga State is being supplemented by a scholarship given her by the Chattanooga Rotary Club Hamilton Place. Her major is social work because she said she wants to give back and make a better place for others.