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The Life Of Summer Student Staffers

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Katie Schmidt doing… something…

During the summer, there is not a lot of life on campus.  With the majority of students and faculty gone the classrooms are empty, and the dorms are silent. But there are a few signs of life on campus.

There are few departments who hire students to help out during the summer with a wide range of jobs: from grounds keeping and dorm repair, to running the bookstore and helping out with admissions.

If you were to take a walk through campus today, you would most likely see our summer maintenance workers getting our grounds ready for the start of the next semester. Each morning starting at 7:00, the grounds keeping crew is out pulling weeds, mowing grass and watering flowers, tasks that seem to never end.  The maintenance department also has several students helping with getting all of the buildings on campus ready for the start of the fall semester.

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Audra Miller trying to get work done, despite the interruptions.

There are also a few students helping in the bookstore this summer, doing more than selling Bethel t-shirts.  They are manning the school’s switchboard, taking care of campus mail, organizing campus events, essentially keeping the school running during the summer.

One of the harder working students on staff this summer is Audra Miller, working in the Institutional Communications office.  While the office going through a staffing transition, she has taken charge of putting together the latest edition of Context, Bethel’s alumni magazine.

There are also students working the Admissions and Financial Aid, preparing the way for the new students joining the Bethel Community in the fall.

The student staffers of the Information and Media Services  office have been keeping busy as well, repairing all of the computers on campus.  But in between repair jobs, they have been known to start shenanigans. Like the time they generously offered there assistance to the Maintenance staff in testing a recently repaired golf kart:

Putting aside of the malarkey they get up to, students have been doing a tremendous job this summer helping the BC staff get ready for the coming school year. The next time you see a student staffer, be sure to stop, give them a high five, followed by context as to why you gave them said high five.

When The Students Are Away, The Staff Will Play

My ascent attempt.

Typically summer break at Bethel College means a time to catch up on work, tackle special projects and be productive in a relaxed atmosphere. I’m not sure if this falls into any of those categories, but the staff in the Information and Media Services decided to climb the antenna tower for the campus radio station.

This wasn’t one of those “I double dog dare you” type of situations. We had a legitimate reason to do so, or at least that is what we told ourselves.  I had wanted to take some photos of the Bethel campus from a unique perspective to use for the school’s website. And my inner adventurer really wanted to climb the 200 foot radio tower, and prove I had conquered a previous fear of heights.

So on a mild June day I donned my safety gear, strapped on a GoPro camera and began my ascent while a small group of staff, students, and cameras watched on.  I made pretty good progress for the first 100 or so feet.

Then the wind began.

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My view as the tower began rockin’.

The wind caused a slight rocking of the tower.  And the higher I climbed, the more the tower rocked.  I was within 30 feet of the top of the tower when my once conquered fear of heights decided to return.  I hurriedly snapped a few photos with my camera before making a hasty retreat to the bottom of the tower.

Then one of my student workers decided to show me up.

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Dylan Jantz striking a pose during his ascent of the tower.

Dylan Jantz is spending his summer days working in the IMS office. And after I made my attempt to climb the tower, Dylan decided he wanted to give it a try.  And he did well.  He managed to make it up to the top of the tower despite the wind, and take some beautiful shots of of the campus.  He even managed a Snapchat or two from a couple hundred feet above the ground.

The photos have turned out pretty great, and the video from the ascent was even better.  But I am wanting to make another attempt later this summer when there isn’t any construction going on (the Fine Arts Center is currently getting a facelift), and another student worker is wanting to make the ascent as well.

Here’s hoping we will make the ascent once more.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/98361974@N06/sets/72157634452090554/show

More Reflections From The Road by Kevin Coash

 

Tuesday Morning:

Getting ready travel to Bluffton, Ohio. Home to Bulffton University, a Mennonite LIberal Arts College with a population of 1,198 students. We get to sing with their College group, the Camerata Singers and then have a concert later tonight.

This quote speaks to the current modus operandi of the choir. We must always think ahead. The next note – the next phrasing – the next text articulation. We can’t move on to the next if we can’t get past the past. In the words of Sheldon Cooper (paraphrased) “Look ahead. You can’t look backwards, because that would just be remembering.”

But then – you sit around a hotel breakfast table with a group of choir members and talk and laugh and joke and tell stories and listen to stories and dream big dreams and you think, maybe it’s okay to think backwards on these times, or remember. Maybe starting the next Chapter doesn’t mean we completely abandon the one we just finished. See, if we carry this book – to – real – life metaphor, books are like old friends, waiting patiently on the bookshelf to be seen and read and experienced again. Books love to be picked up and laughed at and cried into and loved. If book are like people, then I would like to return, at least in my remembrances, to times like this.

Tuesday Evening:

So I’ve been thinking a lot about space. Maybe outer space, (planets) but more down to earth (cells) I’ve been thinking about the rooms and halls we fill and what, if anything, we do there.

Take the city museum.

A full city block made into a metal jungle gym that even the most cynical college kid could get excited about. Imagine hovering 10 stories in the sky praying that those metal bars could make it through. 7 college kids cramming themselves into a steel ball. All this why? Because it was fun and we were together.

Now see St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

Dare I say, both of these places (City Museum and Cathedral) are wonders of architecture. But vastly different, right? I’m not so sure. The Cathedral with its high arches, marble statues, and wonderful sound – called us to something higher. That something that theologians have tried to define for centuries.

But the Museum called us higher too. It caused us to raise our voice maybe even in song. So perhaps these two places aren’t that different. Maybe that “thing” that’s so hard to name is at both. North-South-East-West.

 

Musings from the Concert Choir Tour by Kevin Coash


So I’m supposed to be writing a daily blog for the Concert Choir tour. It is hard to shut me up, but it’s also hard to write about bus rides and the same 20 songs every day. SO I thought I would dig deeper see if I could understand what this whole tour business is about. This is my first year, ya know. Is it really just bus rides and the same 20 songs, and if so, why do people get so darn emotional about it. If it’s something more, the curious cat inside of me wants to know that that is.

As I was thinking about this I was mindlessly and aimlessly scrolling through my facebook newsfeed, which more often than not is a call to remembrance than I’m a liberal in a conservative State, but I came across this quote of Bob Marley. “Live for yourself and you will live in vain; live or others, and you will live again.” I found this insightful 1) because Bob said it 2) because when you’re crammed on a bus with 50+ other people you truly have to live this.

Reminds me of my days at the Buddhist temple where my teacher kept saying, “Forget about the “I” put down the “I.” We as a choir, sophomore – junior – and senior members are all on this trek together, like it or else. We have goals and we have jobs and we are having fun. But we’re not doing this for ourselves. No music is for yourself, that would be in vain. We are doing this for our fellow choir mates. The emotional seniors who will never get to tour with the group again, we sing for you. Bill who puts in hours of dedicated work and his immense arsenal of talent, we sing for him. Dale and his dedication and support of this choir – who cries at every show, who loves each of us as his own grandchild, we sing for him. The small but vibrant and loving compassionate congregations that welcome us and bother to stay and listen to a bunch of college kids from Kansas sing, we sing for them. We sing for hope in a troubled world. We sing for love across mankind. We cannot accomplish any of these things own our own. It is everyone living for everybody else, at least just for these 9 days, that makes these things happen. Will we always be successful? – I hope not – Because it is only by falling that we can truly judge how far we have come. But we’ll keep marching (or riding, I guess) on, together, singing for others. Bringing music – a powerful thing – to them as a gift expecting nothing in return. And that is not a endeavor spent in vain.