This last weekend marked another glorious Fall Festival. Despite the weather, many alumni, local newtonians, and visitors from in and around this great state of Kansas joined in the awesomeness. Lot’s of new years cookies, verinike, and kettle corn to fill those hungry tummies of ours. I personally helped feed a countless number of people with verinike by working the both at Fall Fest as well as the Taste of Newton.
Campus let out a collective sigh of relief on Monday. This past weekend was the annual Bethel College Fall Festival, which serves as a homecoming/fundraiser/fun time for everyone. Alumni run rampant on campus while their children are prepped to be the next generation of Threshers. It’s one of the biggest weekends for prospective to visit, with 40+ on campus on Friday and more throughout this week.
Fall Fest is scheduled around the first home football game in October, or sometimes the last one in September if the schedule is strange. It starts on the Thursday of that week with the Taste of Newton, an event in downtown Newton that brings blocks of food booths together. That’s always one of my favorite parts because it brings together the Bethel community and the Newton community. There’s all sorts of concerts and performances of local groups from jazz bands to the Azteca dancers.
Friday is kind of an awkward in-between day with the STEM symposium in the afternoon and classes cancelled in the afternoon. The theatre department’s Fall Fest production also starts on Friday evening.
Saturday is the big day of festivities on campus with a whole list of events and booths on campus. Student groups and a few outside organizations use Fall Fest as a major fundraiser. It’s a lot of food like the Taste of Newton. The festivities conclude on Sunday with a campus worship service at Bethel College Mennonite Church and the final production of the play or musical.
It’s quite a stressful weekend for students involved in those activities, but the rewards are great. Besides the fundraising from having so many people on campus it’s also a time to reconnect with recent alumni and family. And don’t forget the great food!
Last week campus was busy with volunteers from the community rushing around to prepare for the 42nd annual Fall Festival. Spots were staked, tents were assembled, and the anticipation for the weekend was all around. Bethel College was anxious to celebrate it’s 125th anniversary.
The event kicked off with the Taste of Newton on Thursday night, which I was able to attend for the first time this year. The past two years I had either basketball practice or to help work the volleyball games. It was a new experience for me, main street was full of people and the smells of delicious food filled the air.
Friday was busy as well, campus visit day brought with it a large amount of perspective students and athletic recruits. Afternoon classes were cancelled to allow students to attend the STEM Symposium, but also served as a time to catch up on homework before the busy weekend. I used this time to take a nap (after homework of course).
On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to find that it was raining, so I slipped on my polka dot rain boots and grabbed my umbrella before heading to the booths I was scheduled to work. As a radio show host for KBCU-FM 88.1, I volunteered to work the radio booth from 9-10, due to the rain however, we did not have one. I trudged back to my room knowing my family would soon be here to help work the Russian pancake booth for Women’s Basketball.
Luckily the rain disappeared and there was only a light sprinkle here and there. I worked the Russian pancake booth with my family and members of the team, then headed to the Collegian booth to sell newspaper subscriptions. When I was done I finally got to enjoy lunch and walk around.
Overall, I think the weekend was very successful. I got to see my family, talk with community members, and the weather did not put a damper on this year’s Fall Fest. I can officially say I’ve attended three Fall Festivals at Bethel and look forward to next year’s!
BIFL (bif-uhl) stands for Basic Issues of Faith and Life. BIFL is a 400 level Bible course that all seniors are required to take sometime during their final year at Bethel. In a sense, I guess you could say that it is the senior exit course. This class meets twice a week for 2 hours each day to discuss books and topics, and then figure out how we can apply them to our lives today. Professors take turns teaching the course each semester.
There are two main things that BIFL is known for…1) the BIFL Oral Exam and 2) The Credo Paper. Yesterday was my oral exam. I was really nervous going into it, primarily because of the fact that I didn’t know what to expect. All of the people who have graduated in past years that I talked to told me that it really wasn’t bad, but hearing that didn’t exactly ease my nerves.
Here’s a brief rundown of how BIFL Orals work: Each year, professors meet together and pick a book of the Bible to cover and one additional book that all seniors will read. (We read many other books as well, but those selections are up to the individual professors who are teaching the course that semester.) The Orals are designed to be like a conversation between two students and two faculty members. They ask us questions about the book of the Bible, which in this case was Hosea, and the book that we read, “Fidelity” by Wendell Berry. A lot of the questions that the faculty members ask are related to themes in the books or how we can apply these books to our lives today. The Oral exam is a pass/fail deal, and you must pass in order to graduate from Bethel College.
Yes, I know. This all sounds really intense. That’s exactly what I thought too. However, now that I look back on my experience yesterday, it wasn’t too bad. Sure, there were questions that were tough and that I didn’t exactly know how to answer, but that’s the goal. The faculty want us to be critical thinkers and learn how to communicate our thoughts effectively. That’s part of the Bethel goal.
Walking outside yesterday I saw the beautiful colors of fall beginning to decorate our campus. There is this gorgeous tree outside the mods that is shedding gorgeous bright yellow leaves as we speak.Yes, it is finally fall and I could not be more excited. Along with the wonderful weather and colors that fall brings it also brings many exciting and fun festivities to the Bethel campus as well. The first one is fall break. Fall break was much needed for me, although I did not do anything particularly exciting or eventful, just being able to relax at home was just what I needed to get me rejuvenated to finish out the rest of the semester. The other exciting festivity was Taste of Newton and Fall Fest weekend. Taste of Newton was tasty (haha) as always, that included delicious verenika and apple dumplings. Fall Fest was especially busy for me this year because I am not a part of SAA and Student Senate (I wasn’t last year) and so along with those new titles came more responsibilities with helping with booths on Saturday. Although the day started off not looking promising with the early morning rain and the clouds looming over, it turned out to be a wonderful day for the event. After helping with the booths I was still able to walk around and enjoy food, samples, the photo booth and other entertainment.
In the evening on Saturday then was the football game. Although it was sad to see them lose, it was fun to be in the stands with the students watching together. It was also a great honor at half time for the women’s tennis team to be recognized on the field for making it to Nationals for the fourth year in a row this past season. Other teams and individuals were also recognized: the men’s golf team for their award of the team’s overall GPA, as well as individuals from tennis, golf and track for their individual achievements.
This year has seem to have flown by so fast (which is partially why I am behind on my blogging, yikes), and I know it will continue to keep picking up speed, but I am so thankful to experience the fun and beauty of the fall along the way.
Now I don’t talk about religion and my personal beliefs in depth very much. I don’t like to mainly because I think what a person feels regarding religion and God is extremely personal and more often than not points to our differences as people rather than the much larger number of things we share in common that bind us together.
However, because Bethel is one of what feels like the few colleges that is active in the religion it is associated with, lists discipleship as one of its four central values, and has played a big role in my faith life the last few years, I’m going to broach a subject I often avoid.
Before I came to Bethel, I quickly and with little thought identified as Quaker whenever someone asked me what religion I was. Throughout my childhood I regularly attended the Friends meeting in San Antonio, Texas where I’m from, but as I got older and entered high school, my attendance dwindled. By the end of high school, I was going to meeting maybe once a month and other than the yearly Quaker retreat, wasn’t really interact with Quakers my own age. So when I started Bethel, I felt like a fish out of water to be surrounded by and have so many friends with a strong faith in God, Jesus, and Christianity.
Throughout my years at Bethel, there is a program that has become very near and dear to my heart. College Buddies is a program where the Bethel College SCAN program pairs up with the Harvey-Marion County CDDO (Community Developmental Disability Organization). Once a month, Bethel students meet with adults who have developmental disabilities in the Bethel College Mennonite Church basement for an evening of socializing, laughing, doing crafts or games, and eating snacks. We also work to break stereotypes that are associated with developmentally disabled people.
As a freshman and sophomore, I participated in College Buddies (then called Circle of Friends), and after two years I was asked to be the leader of the group. I am so passionate about this program. I love it’s mission. I love the college students that are willing to give up an evening out of their busy schedule. I love the community members that come with smiles on their faces and stories to share. I love how these people look forward to this day for an entire month, just as I do. I love their hugs and handshakes. It is an incredible program and an amazing way for Bethel College to reach out to the community.
Last Thursday was our first meeting of the year. We did some get to know you activities, created acrostic poems with our names, and had snack. I think a good time was had by all. Other activities this year will include pumpkin decorating, a Holiday Bash, Valentine’s crafts, a newspaper fashion show, and a Bingo night.
Congratulations! We have reached that wonderful point in the semester where projects, papers, and assignments start piling up and people get really stressed when they think about how little time is left in the semester and how much they have left to do. This is also the time of the semester when people begin to sleep a lot less and get sick much easier. All of this starts to happen and then…BOOM! Fall break arrives!
My fall break was very relaxing and I will admit, I did not do much homework. Instead of sleeping in, like most students would on a Saturday morning during their break, I got up at 3:30 AM to take my sister to Wichita to catch an early morning flight so she could go visit friends in other states for her break. We then ate breakfast at IHOP and snagged some great sales at the early bird Kohl’s sales before heading home. In the evening, I had a barbeque with some of my friends and then caught the tail end of the BC football game.
On Sunday after church, I headed out with 2 of my modmates to a lakehouse in Council Grove that one of the girl’s parents own. We spent the next 45ish hours there relaxing and enjoying our break. The house overlooks a gorgeous lake and we were able to get out the jetski and zoom around on the water on Sunday afternoon. Despite the chilly water, we also decided to go tubing and swimming. We wished we could have said that we went swimming in October, but we were one day too early. During our time there, we also watched movies, cooked so much AMAZING food, did some crafts, and slept A LOT. Needless to say, it was a wonderful, relaxing weekend with friends.
I am so thankful for Fall Break.
This past weekend was one of my favorite weekends on campus-Fall Break. Most colleges in our conference get a five-day weekend, but since we take a day to do service later in the semester our fall break is a Monday and Tuesday without class. It’s a very different experience to be on campus for that amount of time without class, but with friends still around.
I had a goal of getting ahead on homework during my days off, but instead went for the relaxation and fun with friends route. I baked a cookie pie using chickpeas with my friend Erin, played video games that I hadn’t played since middle school with some other friends, and slept in until 11 on Monday and Tuesday. That’s really late for me.
Besides the fact that there was no class, Fall Break also is one of the best weekends on campus because it marks the beginning of a spectacular month to be a Thresher. First of all, fall is finally here, and Kansas does fall right. It’s starting to get cooler and soon the leaves will be changing and falling. I grew up close to campus so fall was always one of my favorite times because there are so many absolutely gorgeous trees around.
October is also special to Bethel because it means Fall Festival is coming. I’m sure there will be many posts about Fall Fest in the next few weeks. This year, the city of North Newton even declared October Bethel College month in honor of the 125th anniversary of the college.