Friday, September 5, 2014

Prepared for Life

Shaped by the historic peace church tradition and nourished by a desire for excellence in all phases of its programs, Bluffton University seeks to prepare students of all backgrounds for life as well as vocation, for responsible citizenship, for service to all peoples and , ultimately, for the purposes of God’s universal kingdom.
Bluffton University mission statement

Last week I had the opportunity to chat with Bluffton alumni in Lima during a video shoot for new television commercials. (Set to air in 2014-15.) I usually feel at a loss during these shoots. Our able videographer and his assistant do not need my help. Sometimes I’ll step in as the “talent” while he adjusts the lighting, but most of the time I just hang out with the person to be videotaped. We chat until it’s time to film.

What great stories these alumni have to share.

Tyson Goings ’01 was telling me about his work at Lima Senior High School as one of several school counselors. His role is to connect students in need with agencies providing assistance. I believe he now has a social work license. (I could be wrong about this as I wasn't taking notes.) He meets with nearly 10 percent of the school body at some point during the school year, many of them on a weekly basis.

As we chatted it hit me, "Weren't you a recreation management major? How did you get from rec management to social work?”

Jennifer (Liechty ‘82) Zickafoose, an HPER (now known as Health, Fitness and Sport Science) major, found her calling teaching as a middle school intervention specialist. In her brightly-colored, inviting classroom at Lima West Middle School, she passionately shares the dramatic results of a reading system she uses to reach her students.

I’m sure there are many other examples of how Bluffton prepared students for not only vocation, but for all the twists and turns that life may present; to be open to new opportunities and callings; to have the courage to step out in faith.

You’ll be seeing a lot about the Power of Purple in Bluffton University circles in the coming months. We define the Power of Purple as the work of two or more to produce an effect greater than their separate efforts, or the combination of multiple experiences producing a greater learning than either offers alone, much like the way red and blue combine to create purple.

Much like preparing “for life as well as vocation.”

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