Friday, June 1, 2012

Quintessentially Mid-American

I’m spoiled. I’ll admit it. My office on the south-east edge of campus is graced with a 15-foot bank of windows overlooking Spring Street. On beautiful days like today, I can open the window and enjoy the sounds of birds singing, leaves rustling, children playing, an occasional car or lawn mower.

It quickly became obvious when we moved into the PR house that I needed to arrange my desk so that it was not facing the window. Even so, on occasion, I do catch myself staring out the window while planning, brainstorming or searching for the perfect word.

Nearly on a daily basis, I’ll see professors Darryl Nester ‘88 (mathematics) riding his bike to the office or home for lunch; and Zachary Walton ‘02 (communication) walking to the office or walking his little daschund pup with his black leather coat billowing during the winter months.

On occasion, Walt Paquin (social work) will walk by with his two standard poodles or Amanda Sensenig (psychology) will take her little one and her boxer for a stroll. In the past week Don and Romaine Pannabecker (emeritus dean) have been riding by on their tandem bike.

Then there is the normal everyday stuff that happens on a small street in Bluffton, Ohio. Mom rides her bike with a little one in a trailer, followed by a preschooler on a trike; squirrels with a death wish jump from tree limb to tree limb; birds wash themselves in puddles left from a late afternoon shower; the high school band marches by preparing for parade season; neighbors visit. These are visions we tend to take for granted, that we consider “normal.”

Last year, Bluffton partnered with Creosote Affects, a Maryland communications firm, to update our admissions print and online materials. The first thing they needed to do is learn more about us. So they talked with Bluffton students, faculty/staff, alumni and community members. They spent time on our campus all the while working to identify Bluffton’s “core strengths.”

One of the five core strengths identified is our location in a “quintessentially Mid-American small town.” The other four strengths listed were not surprising - small size, Christian environment, cross-cultural program, preparing students for life - but this was a new strength identified for us. It is a strength we probably would not have seen from our vantage point in Bluffton.

So it’s been helpful to see Bluffton through an East-coast lens. Be watching this fall for updated admissions materials to see how these strengths are presented to a new generation of Bluffton students.

No comments:

Post a Comment