One of the most anticipated events on campus occurred earlier today. Beginning on Friday afternoon, Bethel College invites community members to campus to hear speakers, listen to musical groups, walk through student-created booths, play games, and eat food. The main day of Fall Fest is Saturday, and beginning earlier than 8 am, students, staff, faculty and community members were setting up booths and selling food and handicrafts.
I began my day at the Students for Social Change booth, where my friend Emilie and I gathered signatures for a petition involving the recent Palestinian bid to the UN for statehood. In the same booth, other students sold arroz con leche (rice with milk, raisins and cinnamon) and distributed information regarding the School of the Americas. Other booths sold newspaper subscriptions, held contests to win prizes, sold cookies and verenike, held a Free Sale, and offered tie-dying.
It’s fall on campus and I frequently stop on my way across campus to watch two squirrels chase each other or to watch one hurriedly run to and fro with a nut in its mouth. The leaves are falling and the mod air conditioner no longer runs continuously.
With the fresh fall weather and continuing classes, mods (and residence halls) are starting to plan some of their own fun events. Last year the lovely ladies of mod 4C decided that to celebrate birthdays we would go out to eat at a restaurant of the birthday gal’s choice. Recently we celebrated a half-birthday (her actual birthday is in the summer) with a trip to Montana Mike’s it was a great time to relax and laugh together as we caught up on all the crazy things that we don’t always have time to talk about when we meet in the mod bathroom at 2:00 in the morning when we’re getting ready for bed. It’s amazing how you can live together and be so busy that you don’t have time to catch up with everyone. We had a blast together (check the pictures if you don’t believe me).
This year, the theater department is kicking off its season with a farce for Fall Fest called Charley’s Aunt. For those of you who don’t know, a farce is a type of comedy where everything is exaggerated and physical comedy reigns supreme. I won’t bother telling you the plot of the show, but I will tell you all about the making of the production.
How am I going to do this, you ask? Easily. I am stage managing the show, meaning I have been involved with the show since auditions and have been at nearly every rehearsal and production meeting, and I can give you the inside scoop. This show, like the Fall Concerts, is an exciting moment for the theatre department because, not only is it the first show of the season, but it is the first time we get to show off new talent in the department as well as see returning talent on the stage.
The professors at Bethel College are a dedicated and diverse bunch. Many of them have spent nearly their entire career here – a span of 25 years or more. A couple of them have been present at very pivotal moments in history, such as the history professor who was in Berlin in 1989. He witnessed and participated in peaceful gatherings and church prayer services in opposition to the Berlin Wall and was present when it came down. Our Bible professor spent several years as a Service Worker with Mennonite Central Committee (denominational relief organization) in Jerusalem and was privy to the political happenings concerning the conflicts between Palestinians and Israelis. At least one professor speaks over ten languages, and many others are at least bi- or trilingual. Interterm trips are a reflection of the diversity of the faculty experience – Israel, Costa Rica, Lesotho, Germany, France, Poland, and Mexico are just a few of the places that professors have spent significant amounts of time in and are excited to share their experiences and expertise with students. One of the Chemistry professors trains dogs in her spare time and takes them to agility contests; the other Chemistry professor runs marathons with the cross country runners.
I don’t write in first person. Ever. (For those of you who haven’t passed the 8th grade that’s I, me, we…) I have been advised by English teachers past not to. So I haven’t. Until now. After being asked to blog for Bethel, I decided it was time to break the rule.
I’m not suggesting that I referred to myself in writings without the use of personal pronouns as if I were a professional athlete with half a million followers on Twitter. Justin Baldia would never consider such an antic. However, I digress.
Now in my junior year and relfecting on my arrival and time spent at Bethel, I realize that I’ve done things that I swore I would never do or never thought I would do. Most, if not all, of these things are positive, sans the 2 AM trip to the emergency room after falling from my bed during a game of “nut ball” and the trip to the orthopedic specialist after jumping from the cafeteria roof and injuring both of my heels so badly that I could hardly walk. (Both freshman mistakes) There are opportunities and experiences that I have had at Bethel that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
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