For the first time in about 20 years, Bethel College has officially cancelled all of its Wednesday classes. There was much rejoicing when the e-mail first came out – plenty of shouting and dancing in the mod’s courtyard. These first 2 weeks at Bethel have been more or less defined by weather cancellations. One of my weekly classes has cancelled 2 classes (read: we haven’t met yet), a Biochemistry lab was postponed, and I’ve been called off work several times.
Spring semester will be under way tomorrow as classes will begin tomorrow. Spring semester is a busy semester, and it is usually harder than the fall semester. More people take a full course load in the spring semester than do in the fall. Sometimes the spring semester can be hard because there are not as many sports played in the spring semester and people tend to slack off as they have more free time. So as the spring semester begins buckle down and stay focused on the goals ahead. For many, that may be graduation in May, for some, it might just be getting the semester out of the way. Whatever the reason may be, keep your head up and stay focused, for there will be many more breaks to come. Remember February is a short month, March is Spring Break, April is Easter, and May there are Finals!!!!!
Today is the last day of interterm classes. I took Linear Algebra, which I was supposed to take before my math class last semester but since I wasn’t in college last interterm that would have been a little difficult. I really enjoyed having only one class for this month. In some ways it was relaxing while still being an intensely focused course. I work two afternoons a week so I wasn’t really bored ever. Now we have a four-day weekend before second semester starts on Tuesday, and I only have one class on Tuesday so it’s almost a five-day weekend!
Mediation was the first KIPCOR class that I took. The second, Negotiation theory, was the second of this interterm, and it went just as well. This time around the class met for three hours a day over the course of two weeks, leaving the last week of interterm free for getting tasks accomplished and whatever else I need to finish before the semester starts. During the two-week run of negotiation classes, we were able to play an epic Humans vs. Zombies game. Because there is a lot more time during interterm, we were able to make the game a lot more enjoyable this time around and work out a number of the kinks that occurred in prior games. The game ended nearly perfectly, with the last humans succombing to the zombie horde minutes before their helicopter was to pick them up from a fourth-floor landing. The game was entertaining and all enjoyed it. Read More
This fall I was flipping through the pages of an academic coursebook when I saw an interesting course possibility for the interterm period. There were two intriguing classes listed, Dealing With Conflict and Negotiation Theory. I was curious to see what they were, so I signed up for them, and I’m glad I did. Both of these classes are part of a unique Bethel offering, the Peace and Justice program that we have here. They are done through an institution called the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, or KIPCOR, that is affiliated with Bethel. KIPCOR is an independent association that also serves as a mediation center for individuals involved in disputes, domestic or otherwise, that they wish to work out. They are the first stop for individuals wishing to enter the local small claims and divorce court, as well as offering their services to anyone desiring help with mediation in a conflict situation. It’s a unique institution that offers students practical experience along with the theoretical knowledge that is oftentimes found in the classroom. Read More
For the past two-and-a-half weeks, I have been traveling around Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank with a group of Bethel and Tabor students. The focus of the trip is on expanding our understanding and awareness of the Israel-Palestine conflict and to visit different sites important to the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian faiths, as well as other tourist sites in the area.
Thus far in our travels, we have visited Petra (an ancient city hewn out of solid rock), ridden camels (!!!!!), the Church of the Nativity (where Jesus was born), the Wall separating Israel from the West Bank (tragic), the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Gaililee, the Dead Sea (we floated!!!), the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques (we were able to go inside, which is HIGHLY unusual), the Western Wall of the Jewish temple destroyed in 70CE, and many, many other sites mentioned in the Bible.
Many treated today as a day off from school, and work, but how many have stopped and realize what this day truly means. Do many see this day as celebrating an African American legend who used peaceful marches and dreams to help break racial barriers worldwide or is this day about celebrating an opportunity to sleep in, play around, and watch TV? I don’t see today as just another day off. I look at today as a day of reflection. A day where we can reflect on how many of Dr. King’s dreams have changed from an image of a dream to reality. As I look at Dr. King’s dreams come true, I also reflect on how it’s not complete. If Dr. King were here today, he would be so pleased to see that people of different ethnicities are allowed to attend schools together, work together, and eat together. He would look and smile at the change that America has gone through as an African American president sits in office. He would be able to turn on his TV and see an African American woman with her own talk show, an African American coach that is the head of an NFL team, and African American quarterbacks. He could take a ride in his car and see an inter-racial couple holding hands without a care in the world. Dr. King would look at the world and see that so much of his dream has been accomplished, but he is not satisfied because his dream is not complete. Read More
Hello, friends and fellow students, Greetings again from the Social Development and Social Justice class here in Cuernavaca Mexico. I write to you on the morning of our last day here, as we are moving to Mexico City tomorrow. I think that the group has mixed feelings about the end, as most of us have really enjoyed this city, its people, and especially our host Gerardo. Though I think that one of the bloggers may write a little more about his story, I want to introduce you to him briefly because he’s a man I believe we’ve all come to respect and admire.
Gerardo grew up in Canada in a conservative family that had pretty strict religious views (Dutch Reformist I believe) and raised him in the traditions of Canadian dairy farming. He told us that for years he felt as though something was missing from his life, and even though he was making good money as farmer, he did not feel fulfilled. So with a group of other farmers around the area, he put together several trips here to Cuernavaca
, to get to know the farmers here and what their need were. Eventually this group donated 30-some dairy cattle to the people here, and Gerardo brought them down from Canada and began helping out here among the poor and marginalized. Read More
January may just be my favorite month at Bethel. The entire month is filled with more free time because of only having to worry about one class and if you play your cards right (like I did), that class is only two weeks long! That leaves much more time to hang with friends, play intramural sports and go support the basketball teams! This last Saturday the teams went to Bethany College in Lindsborg and both got the win. The ladies are now 3-3 and in the top half of conference and the men are 4-2. They have been working very hard and have been back on campus since the 27th of December; talk about a short Christmas break! Read More
Greetings from the Volweider sisters in sunny Cuernavaca!The Social Development and Social Justice Class has been in Cuernavaca, Mexico for five days now. We started our journey last Tuesday morning after much excitement and anticipation! Our traveling went seamlessly with the exception of one of our ginger students passing out on the flight from Houston to Mexico City. Luckily, there were a couple of doctors on the plane and the flight attendants were helpful, so everything turned out all right.We were greeted by the Quest program director Gerardo, (who was quickly nicknamed Gelato) and took a bus from Mexico City to our first destination of Cuernavaca. All of our eyes widened and smiles came to our faces when we caught our first glimpse of our new home for the next two weeks. It is located on a mountain in the outskirts of Cuernavaca. There are rolling hills, beautiful trees, fields of corn, and a colorfully painted house. The house has no door to enter and it is open to the flourishing outdoors. We also quickly discovered the stairs to the roof where we found a pool and the view of a lifetime overlooking trees, hills, and the city below. We also then had our first taste of the delicious traditional Mexican food that is prepared for us three times a day. Eating these meals is an activity that everyone in our group looks forward to! Read More