As part of Martin Luther King, Jr. Week each year, the Geneva student development and academic affairs offices sponsor the MLK Undergraduate Essay Contest. A presentation of the contest-winning essay with an accompanying panel discussion concludes the MLK Week activities. The goal of the contest and discussion is to "improve our âfluency′ with diversity-and not just rhetoric, but attitudes, behaviors and actions as well," explains Academic Dean Dr. David Guthrie.
Geneva students, faculty and staff gathered in Skye Lounge on Friday, January 21 to hear the 2011 first-place essay "Extremists for Love," written by junior communications major Micah Yarger. The paper focused on a quote from "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Dr. King: "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will." Yarger discussed the civil rights issues which King faced within the church and compared similar relationships which can be seen among Christians today.
"Studying the words and actions of Dr. King really made me look at myself," said Yarger. "As Christians, I think that we need to love people in an extreme way. And it all needs to be about the gospel."
Following the presentation, a discussion panel composed of Dr. Paul Kilpatrick, Julie Everett, Jonathan Ingraham and Christian Coleman provided views on the issues referenced in the paper. Everett remarked that the essay discussion "reminded us of the dismissive nature ingrained in humans while confronting issues of this magnitude, even, or especially, in the church" and urged everyone at Geneva College "to get involved locally and on a larger scale for the betterment of God's kingdom." The discussion concluded with questions and comments from the audience.
Also recognized at the event were senior elementary education major Megan Conley, who won second place, and senior sociology major Maria Smith and freshman English major Deanna Briody, who tied for third place.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).