By Rima Warren ′09
When I came to Geneva as a freshman, I didn't understand the real meaning of a Christian liberal arts education. I saw Geneva as a place where I could develop myself as a business marketing major and find my path to success, but God was planning to turn my perceptions inside out. As I learned about the business world, God used people, places, opportunities and challenges to show me who I am and who I want to become in the context of my community and my world.
During my junior and senior years at Geneva, I had the opportunity to live in City House, an intentional community located in downtown Beaver Falls. Living with eight of my peers in the center of this struggling yet hopeful city gave me a better understanding of what it really means to be a good neighbor-having a willingness to serve and be served.
As part of the community service component of living in City House, I helped children at the Harmony Housing Projects complete their homework once a week. This experience and the relationships formed through it completely changed my perspective and taught me that service has two sides: just as I was taking the time to help them with their homework, these kids were taking the time to open up and share their stories with me. I was reaching out to them, but they were also reaching out to me.
As life in the City House increased my awareness of needs in my own community, Geneva′s chapter of the International Justice Mission (IJM) opened my eyes to needs around the world. After learning the plight of the "invisible children" in Northern Uganda, I was able to spend a weekend in D.C. making lawmakers aware of the children′s existence and lobbying for their survival.
Had I pursued my degree elsewhere, I don't think I would have learned the importance of making service a part of everyday life. In our society, being a business major is all about individual success. At Geneva, education is just another opportunity to honor God and serve other people. Real success isn't about climbing the corporate ladder-it′s about living side by side with my neighbors, whoever and wherever they are.