Presidential Forum Highlights Change Through Community Service

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Chrissy Uba showed up at 10:30 a.m. Friday to be the first in line for the event honoring community service. Doors at Rudder auditorium didn't open until 1:30 p.m. to the few thousands of guests who received tickets to the invitation only event. The forum highlighted President George H.W. Bush's call to action, in which he urged the nation to make an impact throughout their communities through community service. President Bush invited President Barack Obama to the event to commemorate the vision of service.

"I feel very honored just that they're even coming to A&M. And then that we get to see them because, not everyone is going to have this opportunity," said A&M student, Lindsay Calvert.

At 1:30 p.m. the 400 A&M student leaders invited to the forum, media from across the nation, and 150 past Points of Light award recipients filled the 2,500 seats inside Rudder auditorium. Meghan and Lauren Parnell waited anxiously inside the auditorium for the forum to begin. The sisters were awarded a daily Points of Light award five years ago for their work in restoring a nursing home in Houston.

"You do for others before you for yourself. You put others needs ahead of your own and it'll come back around to you. It's just how we've been raised," said Meghan Parnell.

A little after 3 p.m. the forum opened with a panel discussion about the role of government in national service. The panel discussed how the younger generation should be encouraged to volunteer and mentor within their local communities. The panel noted the impact young people can make after one million high school students participated in community service events throughout the U.S last year. The room exploded in cheers when Texas A&M Big Event Director Mallory Myers was named The Daily Points of Light Award recipient. President George H.W. Bush highlighted the importance of inspiring change locally that will in turn have a lasting impact on nation. Meanwhile, President Obama encouraged the crowd to "embrace a common purpose that is bigger than our differences."