Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The places we learn

Evan Miller and President Jim HarderBy now you should have received the winter 2010 issue of the Bluffton magazine. According to research, there’s a pretty good chance that you glanced at the feature stories, flipped to the back to read alumnotes from your era, possibly skimmed the alumni features, then set it aside with good intentions of reading it closer at a later date.

If you haven’t yet got back to it, I encourage you to pull it out to read the features (or read them online here.)

With the theme “The places we learn,” it is appropriate that this magazine became a learning experience for one of our students. Evan Miller, a senior English major from Wooster, Ohio, and student writer in the PR office, wrote the features stories for this issue. What an amazing experience, not to mention a fabulous piece for his portfolio.

In thinking back to my time as a student writer for what was then the Bluffton communications office, I learned so much through that experience. I appreciated the classes I had with Wesley Richard, Gene Caskey and Dale Dickey. They pushed me into unfamiliar territories, taught me to learn, to ask questions, to be curious.

But it was in my Learn & Earn position supervised by Ron Geiser that prepared me for a career in communications. He taught me to compose at the typewriter rather than writing stories out longhand then typing. (Yes, I really am that old.) From him I learned editing symbols, beat reporting… In a word, the experience was priceless.

Lessons were also taught through The Witmarsum. As co-editor and later editor, we were given the freedom to fill the newspaper each week however we saw fit. But each week the editors met with a board of faculty and staff to respond to questions and concerns about the content. While extremely stressful, that too was a good experience.

It is truly a strength of Bluffton University, that whether through the Learn & Earn program, extracurricular activities or internships, students continue to be given the opportunity to expand the places they learn beyond the classroom.

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