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Geneva College
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Finding unity in diversity

Herman Boone addresses the audience at Geneva College 

During the days following this year’s observance of Martin Luther King Day, Geneva College invited faculty, students and the community to take an honest look at the reality of racism.

Herman Boone, whose story is portrayed in the film Remember the Titans (2000), spoke on January 19 as part of the Geneva College Colloquia Series. Boone became the head football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia in 1973. It was the first year the school had been racially integrated, and Boone’s team helped unite the student body and the entire community. Now a motivational public speaker, Boone shares his message of respect, teamwork and unity with students across the country.

Coach Boone could have been in Washington D.C. on inauguration day, but decided that the best way he could spread Dr. King’s vision was by speaking to a gathering of college students in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

“Young people, don’t ever sit on the sidelines tying up your shoes,” he said. “Your degree from Geneva College certifies you to make a difference…but to make a difference requires hard work and the ability to transcend narrow-minded thinking.”

Boone encouraged his listeners to reach outside their comfort zones, welcoming different people and perspectives into their circles of influence. Diversity involves more than accepting people of different races, ethnicities, abilities and religions. It means living inclusively, intentionally surrounding ourselves with people who are different from us.

“Let us be reminded that we are a nation of people who came from all parts of the world,” Boone said, adding that when our forefathers established the motto E pluribus unum (Out of many, one), there was “no requirement that men give up what makes them unique in order to become part of the one.”

Martin Luther King Jr. week included a number of events for students, faculty and staff. The month concluded with a powerful call to action as Tom McWhertor, Vice President for Enrollment and External Programs at Calvin College, presented a talk entitled “From Every Nation: Christian Colleges and Diversity.” Speaking from his own experiences at Calvin, McWhertor urged the Geneva College community to think through the diversity issues on campus and in their own lives.

“Racism is not only real,” he said, “it is also completely contradictory to who we are as Christians.” Facing the depth of racial prejudice takes more than an individual decision, he explained. For true renewal to take place, an entire community has to change its way of thinking.

“Whatever change happens has to be comprehensive,” McWhertor said. “We can’t just be neutral. In our day-to-day actions, we have to ask, ‘How am I opposing this societal momentum of racism?’”


Volunteering for life

Volunteering for life
Allyson Bentz (far right) with fellow volunteers at Choices Pregnancy Center in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
With the ongoing busyness of everyday life, most people don't have time to volunteer. That's why volunteering isn't about having time, it's about making time, and giving it to someone else.

In January of 1981, Ruth Vos made a New Year’s resolution to re-evaluate her priorities. She placed God at the top, and then worked her way down to “community” at the bottom. As a young mom, she didn’t have many free moments to spare, but she wanted to do something to make a difference. “If you wait until you have the time, you’re never going to do it,” she says.

That January was also the eighth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. Crisis pregnancy centers were opening across the country, offering physical, emotional and spiritual support for women in need of help. Ruth contacted Lifeline pregnancy center in Beaver, Pennsylvania to see what she could do.

“At first, I was positive that I didn’t want to counsel,” Ruth says. She didn’t know what it was like to be an unwed mother, alone, afraid and considering abortion. But after a while, she realized that sharing love, not experience, was the best way to help.

In 2004, Allyson Bentz found herself in a similar situation. A recent graduate of Geneva College, she was looking for a way to help out in the community. As a student, she had spent an afternoon folding baby clothes at Choices Pregnancy Center in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. She contacted the director and was asked to come in for an interview.

But Allyson’s interview never happened. When she arrived at the center, she learned that a baby had just been dropped off on the doorstep. “I held the baby while the director and other volunteers talked to the mom,” Allyson says. “I just remember thinking, wow, some people have no place to go and this ministry really changes people’s lives.”

Allyson knew she wanted to help, but she felt unqualified and inadequate. “Who am I to talk to these women?” she says. “I haven’t been pregnant and I don’t know what they’re going through. But when it comes down to it, all of us have the same need for love and for someone to listen, and that’s something I can offer in some way.”

Volunteering isn’t easy. It’s hard to make the time, to find the energy, but Allyson likes to remember Proverbs 11:25: “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

Fellow Choices volunteer Shannon Gallagher agrees. “It’s amazing what God does with just a little bit of faithfulness,” she says. “I always come in with the mindset of ‘I’m going to help someone,’ and walk away feeling like I’ve grown and learned so much.”

Find out how you can make a difference in your community. Talk to members of your church or city, or go to www.volunteermatch.org. For more information about abortion and pro-life issues, visit www.nrlc.org.

Ruth Vos is a staff support for the music and biology departments at Geneva College. Allyson Bentz is Assistant Director of Financial Aid, and Shannon Gallagher is an enrollment counselor for the Geneva College Degree Completion Program.

  

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Recycling has reached a whole new level in the Geneva College community.
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Rolling out the red carpet for high school musicalsRolling out the red carpet for high school musicals
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Making ACCESS more accessibleCampus fair makes ACCESS more accessible
Like most people, college students aren't always good at asking for help.
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Bringing back the victory bellBringing back the Victory Bell
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Tom Bova: The Voice of the Golden TornadoesTom Bova: The Voice of the Golden Tornadoes
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Denise Murphy-Gerber and her petsGeneva pets: Finding their way to our hearts
My dog, a springer spaniel named Maggie, came to me by way of a young woman who had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 25.
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Annual Geneva College Day at Pirates Spring Training

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Got the winter blues?
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Volunteer James D. Carson, former pastor and member of the Geneva College Board of Corporators, and Events Coordinator Judy Boggs

The gift of time

"Volunteers are the most valuable human resources of any organization."
- Kevin J. Jean, Vice President
  of Institutional Advancement  

Geneva College recently held its annual volunteer luncheon to honor the many people who give their time, energy and skills to support the institution and its students. Pictured from left are volunteer James D. Carson, former pastor and member of the Geneva College Board of Corporators, and Events Coordinator Judy Boggs.


PRAY FOR EACH OTHER

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

  • This is a time of anxiety for our students, their families and our nation. Please ask the Lord to comfort troubled hearts and provide for both material and spiritual needs.

  • Pray for admissions counselors and enrollment services staff as they recruit new students for the 2009-10 academic year. As families make major financial decisions, pray that God would pave the way for students to attend here.

  • A number of short-term missions teams are preparing to go on international and domestic trips over spring break. Please pray for the students, for faculty and staff leaders, and for the people they are going to serve.

  • Please pray for members of the leadership team and governing boards as they seek to be wise stewards of the college. Ask God to bless them with wisdom, insight and discernment.

How can we can pray for you?

The marketing and institutional advancement offices pray every week for students, faculty, alumni and friends of the college, and other prayer meetings also take place regularly on campus.

Click here to send us your prayer requests.


 

calendar.gifClick on the calendar to see what events are happening at Geneva.


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