Thursday, February 24, 2011

24 days and counting

So, was last week Mother Nature’s way of playing a cruel joke or to give hope that winter will not last forever?

Just a week ago, temps on campus neared the 60 degree mark. Most of the snow melted away. Students broke out their shorts and flip flops. The baseball team cleaned remaining snow off the tennis courts in order to practice outdoors. While visiting a fellow HCAC campus, I witnessed a massive afternoon-long Ultimate Frisbee contest.

There’s just something about that first taste of spring, even when – especially when - we know it’s just a tease.

For being the shortest in the number of days, February seems to be one long month. “OOOH it’s snowing!” has turned into “UGH- snow.” We yearn to lift our face to the warmth of the sun instead of bundling up against the cold.

Remember what February was like on campus? Not only has winter got you down, but you’re in the heart of the academic semester- mid-terms, papers, projects, performances. Talk about a synergistic effect! Think it was about this time of year that my roomie and I had our one major tiff and the curtains ended up on the floor. Tensions do tend to run high in February.

Take heart fellow travelers… even though winter has returned with a vengeance, there are signs that spring is just around the corner. Daylight hours are getting longer. It was actually light as I drove into work this morning! And the birds were singing. What a blessing.

Nevermind that the weathermen are calling for 6-8 inches of snow by tomorrow noon. It’s only 24 days until the official first day of spring. Let the countdown begin.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Being the Beaver

So what is it like to serve as Bluffton’s mascot? Now that the identities of J. Denny Beaver have been revealed, Jonathan Luginbuhl, Zeke Tracy and Brandon Fullenkamp, tell what it’s like to be the Beaver. (watch the official "beheading")

Brandon: Almost a year ago around this time, I was asked to perform as the new mascot. From then on, I helped served on a committee of faculty/staff and students to help design the suit and figure out how we were going to introduce him and everything, the rest is history.

Dressing up in a giant beaver costume gives a person a different mindset when attending events. When nobody knows who you are, you are free to do pretty much anything you want without worrying about what people think of you, it’s absolutely fantastic!

I would say one of my favorite things about being J.D. was being able to interact with every single person I came into contact with in some way or another. It was kind of a personal running joke of my own to mess with Estee Arend because she was so frightened by me, so naturally I messed with her whenever I saw her! I think at one point I proposed to her at a football game so she would laugh instead of screaming! I also loved all the kids that followed me around; they made my job a lot easier when I was really tired.

Zeke: Being in the suit was fun and sometimes kind of nerve racking. I found it difficult to go up to people I didn’t know and mess with them. The funniest thing that happened to me was when my bandana fell over my eyes while I was taking pictures with people and I had to be led out of the room in order to fix myself.

I had never seen a live mascot before so I didn’t really know how they worked. It was definitely an experience.

Jonathan: One of my favorite parts of being the mascot was interacting with all the kids. It didn’t really matter to me what we were doing, sometimes it was just sitting with them at the games, or chasing them around, they were so much fun.

AD Phill Talavinia presented the three J. Denny Beavers with Varsity B jackets at the "beheading." Jonathon, Zeke and Brandon will continue to perform as J. Denny Beaver through the remainder of the school year. Applications are being accepted for the 2011-12 mascot through mid-March.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day

Did you know that roughly a quarter of all Bluffton alumni met their future spouse on campus?

I’m glad to be represented in that number. Doug and I met my freshman year when my roomie and I took a shortcut through Bren-Dell lobby. We happened upon a group from Third Bren-Dell watching M*A*S*H in the lobby. Honest, we were just looking to save a few steps. It’s pure coincidence that we both ended up marrying guys from Third.

Guess the upcoming Valentine’s Day has me waxing nostalgic about new love on campus and remembering those days of dating on a college student’s budget. Twenty some years ago there was a wonderful Italian restaurant in the Lima American Mall. Great food and cheap! And you had to love dollar nights at the Shannon Theatre. Didn’t much matter what was playing, we were there.

I could bore you with stories of our courtship - like the night that forever turned Valentine’s Day into Hallmark’s Day for my hubby. (If you plan to play cards on a special day, play guys vs. girls. Do not play couples as partners! Just saying.)

I’m more interested in your stories. How did you meet? How did you date? Did you ever kiss on the bridge by Ropp Hall in the moonlight?

Are the memories flowing? Share the memories with your honey, and with us!

Forget greeting cards and chocolates, this year I think we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with spaghetti, warm bread sticks, and break out the M*A*S*H season 5 DVD.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Students take the lead

Hundreds of campus events are planned each year by academic life professionals to expand students’ and community members’ horizons. For instance, guest speakers present at Forum, authors give readings in the Library and Bluffton’s own share research during Friday Colloquium.

On occasion students take the lead to organize and present. Three such events are happening this month - Global Weekend, the Inter-Collegiate Peace Fellowship and Spiritual Life Week.

Global Weekend
We don’t need to travel to experience a different world view. This weekend the International Connection (Bluffton University ICON) will host their annual Global Weekend festivities.

Global Weekend events are open to all, from on and off campus, children and adults alike. Items from international students’ home countries will be displayed during an Saturday evening ethnic meal at The Commons in Marbeck Center. Children will have the opportunity to break a piñata followed by an international variety show.

Inter-Collegiate Peace Fellowship
Mennonite colleges/universities take turns hosting the annual Inter-Collegiate Peace Fellowship. “Rooting for Peace: Go Peace, Grow Peace” will be the theme of the 2011 ICPF on Bluffton’s campus.

Leah Roeschley and her committee began last fall to organize this weekend conference focusing on ethical food production with keynote speaker Ragan Sutterfield, a writer, teacher and gardener.

While students from the sister Mennonite colleges are the primary audience, faculty/staff and community members are welcome to attend either for the full weekend or Saturday only. Registration deadline is Feb. 7.

Spiritual Life Week
Each semester students, along with the campus ministries staff, plan a week-long intentional focus on spiritual life for Bluffton students. Representatives of Renovaré Ministries will be guest speakers at the Spring Spiritual Life Week beginning Tuesday.

What a great opportunity for these students to gain experience organizing and promoting an issue they feel strongly about. If you get a chance and are interested, feel free to support them with your prayers and your presence.