Campus

Wheaton in Washington

Posted June 22, 2016 by Kristen Hermes '17

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – President Barack Obama 

Each one of us desires to do something meaningful with our lives, something that will make a difference. We see the brokenness in the world and wonder what we can do that will make terrible situations better. While the goal of the Wheaton in Washington program was not to give students all of the answers to life’s hard questions, it did show students different ways in which they could work towards change in the world through various careers. 

The first two weeks of the program were spent in the classroom discussing topics of special concern, including the 2016 presidential election, the Syrian refugee crisis, mass incarceration, and religion in politics. During this time, we wrestled with the aforementioned topics and were forced to think more deeply about issues while hearing new perspectives from our fellow classmates. After our initial classroom sessions, we traveled to Washington D.C. to meet individuals who are actively involved in making a difference in social justice issues. 

One of the most exciting parts of the program was during the first week in D.C. when we were given a tour of the Pentagon. Being inside the Pentagon and talking with Wheaton alumnus Peter Cairns who works there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I will not soon forget our Pentagon visit as it reminded me that Wheaton students and alumni go on to do extraordinary things. I would encourage anyone who desires to work in politics, or simply see how change actually can come out of government, to participate in the Wheaton in Washington Program. 

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Overall, Wheaton in Washington was special to me because I am a rising junior who is constantly thinking about how to make my future career meaningful. This experience allowed me to see all the different areas in which I can work in politics, and more importantly, how working in any of these political jobs can help create small but positive changes in the world. 

Kristen Hermes ’17 is a political science major and participant in the 2016 Wheaton in Washington program. To learn more about the program, visit Wheaton in Washington website

Photo Captions (from top): Wheaton in Washington participants Camila Moreno '19, Lauren Rowley '19, Laurel Nee '19, Amanda Wade '19, and Lydia Granger '19 enjoy a restful moment between meetings on the lawn of the Capitol building, photo credit Skyler Hein '19; Wheaton in Washington participants in front of the White House. Row 1 (l to r): Amanda Wade '19, Skyler Hein '19, Phil Kline '17, Madylin Reno '19, Emily Hillstrom '17, Lauren Rowley '19, Kristen Hermes '17, Emily Fromke '19, and Thea Boatwright '19. Row 2 (l to r): Laurel Nee '19, Gabriella Siefert '19, Lydia Granger '19, Will Lauderdale '19, David Criscione '18, and James Dingwall '18.

#MyWheaton: Amazing Grace

Posted May 19, 2016 by Robin Kong '16

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“Ordinary” is not necessarily the best word to describe the past couple of years at Wheaton College. The College suffered from multiple incidents and divisive responses about such incidents from society. Seeing the media quite frequently bashing on my College that I love was definitely one of my lowest points of this year.

While mourning and being heartbroken for the College and its separations, I wondered if there was any fundamental belief that could draw an absolute and complete agreement from anyone on campus.

Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” To give hope to those who, like me, mourn for the separation of campus, I decided to produce a musical project based on the message of the unity of Christ. The mission statement of project was simple: get students from very different places of Wheaton – the Conservatory and the football team, for instance – to sing about the same thing – the grace of Christ.

With the short amount of time I had left in the school year, I had to move quickly. First, I contacted my friend Adam Lindgren ’16 and asked for an all-voice arrangement of “Amazing Grace.” I could not find a better song or better arranger to represent the message of unity through voices. Next, I reached out to multiple people and asked for their musical participation on this project. I contacted the presidents of different organizations on campus and asked for a participant from each group as a representative. Each artist, by participating on this project, supports the purpose of this project by representing his or her group. Last, to be able to advertise the final product to the student body, parents, faculty and staff members, I came up with the name of this project – Project UNITY. 

During the journey, I was blown away by the number of participants and the amount of willingness of each and every musician who was on board. I was able to record 30 artists, and though my time at studio was sometimes quite exhausting, their enthusiasm and passion constantly reminded me of why I started this project in the first place. With a total of 80 hours in Shea studio with lots of encouragements and help from different friends, I reached the end of the journey last week and launched the final product of Project UNITY ("Amazing Grace," above). 

I thank my advisors, helpers, and musicians who were with me this entire journey – this mix is meaningful not because of its quality, but because of its message behind it, and this message could not have been delivered if it weren’t for them. I thank Wheaton College for providing me such an awesome opportunity to witness Christ during this entire process. Finally, I thank God for bringing us unity, and giving us an ability to praise and sing for His glory. 

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Each singer who participated on this project represents the organization or club that he/she is involved in: Student Government, College Union, Gospel Choir, Swing Club, Resident Life, Track Team, Diakonoi, Discipleship Small Group, Men's Glee Club, Football, Concert Choir, Arena Theater, Amplify, Summer Ministry Program, Phonathon, Women's Chorale, Mu Kappa, Thundertones, Koinonia, the Wheaton Record, and many more. Adam Lindgren '16, Lucian Taylor '17, and Brian Porick '98 recorded, mixed, and mastered the project, and artists who participated on this project include Aly Vukelich '17, Matt Zuckermann '17, Andrea Artis '16, Emily Lengel '16, Josh Knowlton '17, Sola Olateju '17, Jenny Ruda '18, Peter Fenton '17, Peter Desrosier '16, Joshua Buzz Aldrin '16, Lydia Saldanha '17, Brittany Blue '16, Emma Camillone '18, Catherine Hall '18, Luke Goodman '18, Katherine Harrison '18, Kiersten Williams '18, Emma Baker '17, Elizabeth Bretscher '19, Eugenia Kang '16, Sarah Han '16, David Batdorf '16, Elliot Franklin '17, Austin Odling '18, Lucas Anholzer '18, Calvin Brown '16, Jeff Burge '17, Charles Nystrom '18, and Kirkland An '17. 

#GivingTuesday: Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

Posted December 2, 2015 by Erica Forkner '17

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When I first came to Wheaton, I had no idea how important fundraising is to an institution like Wheaton College. Because I’m not receiving any direct financial help from the College, I always saw fundraising as an area of college life I could never connect with. However, all of these perceptions changed when I became involved in student leadership. Both my time on Student Alumni Board and my semester interning in the Office of Annual Giving opened my eyes to the importance of fundraising at Wheaton.

Throughout my internship with the Office of Annual Giving, I gained an even greater awareness of the ways Wheaton’s donor base made my time here possible. Regardless of whether a student is receiving financial aid or not, the Wheaton Fund subsidizes each student’s education by about $10,000 a year. The Fund also pays professors, takes care of facilities costs, and much more. Whether or not we’re aware of it, the Wheaton Fund plays a role in each of our Wheaton stories.

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One of my responsibilities as an intern has been to relaunch and rebrand the Advancement Associates program, now known as the Student Ambassadors program. As Student Ambassadors, we play a unique role in campus life: we are responsible for both donor care practices as well as student education of what fundraising looks like at Wheaton. We have the opportunity to engage a significant portion of the Wheaton family as we integrate Wheaton’s donor body with Wheaton’s current student body. We try to bring both together under the common ground of a deep love for Wheaton College and for its work for Christ and His Kingdom.

As a national holiday, focused on encouraging people to give back in response to Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday provides avenues to accomplish this. Our intention for #GivingTuesday was to thank those who have been so generous to Wheaton, both through their donations and their prayers. We celebrated #GivingTuesday this week by taking time as a student body to thank those that have made our Wheaton experience possible. We spent all day Tuesday in Lower Beamer educating students about the Wheaton Fund and asking them to write notes to thank those that have made our Wheaton experience possible. 

If Wheaton were to cost an extra $10,000, many students wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t be the community we are today. I think it’s critical that all students understand the impact of the Wheaton Fund on themselves, their peers, and our campus. #GivingTuesday is all about cultivating an attitude of gratitude at Wheaton.

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Erica Forkner '17 started the Student Ambassador group as part of her internship with the Office of Annual Giving. She now leads a group of eight Student Ambassadors. To learn more about giving to Wheaton, Wheaton Associates, and the Wheaton Fund, visit their websites.  

Photo credit: Kevin Schmalandt 

2015 Student Video Competition Winners

Posted November 25, 2015 by Zack Johnston 17, Larryon Truman 16, Matthew Adams '17

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For this year's 2015 video contest, we asked students to capture their Wheaton experience on video in less than three minutes. The videos were judged on originality, creativity, production quality, and reflection of Wheaton's Mission and Community Covenant. Here are the three winning selections:

Zack Johnston '17

"Our Wheaton"

"I really wanted to get at the heart of why I, and a number of people I know, are at Wheaton. There is a lot of talk about how it's a great education and you have tons of opportunities afterwards and we always have some really impressive Wheaton alum come speak for graduation or chapel or lectures or what have you... But their success isn't really my interest. I love that all that and more is true about Wheaton, but in actuality, I'm much more interested in the person sitting next to me than the person on stage or their accolades.

My original inspiration was the song "Beautiful Things" by Gungor. The idea is that God makes beautiful things out of each of us, and I genuinely consider it a privilege to be a part of or even merely a witness to the part of that process here at Wheaton." -- Zack Johnston '17

Larryon Truman '16

"Worship is a Lifestyle"

"My roommate, Conner Vick, and I wanted to portray worship as a lifestyle and more than just singing songs. Worship encompasses every aspect of our being, and we are able to glorify God by honoring him through the gifts He has given us. Through this video, we wanted to encourage the student body to be mindful that we can worship God in our day-to-day activities." -- Larryon Truman '16

Matthew Adams '17

"Feet of Wheaton"

"As a dancer, my feet help me communicate my passion and love for music! Through this video I am able to show the diversity of things feet do here at Wheaton. On top of that, these feet are effecting change for Christ and His kingdom which is truly beautiful!” -- Matthew Adams '17

Learn more about the winners on their author bio pages and check out last years winners here. Stay tuned for our student photo contest in Spring 2016. 

Arena Theatre's Caucasian Chalk Circle

Posted November 13, 2015 by Max Pointner '18

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“The war is over! Beware the Peace!” declares a character in Brecht’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” Arena Theater’s production of Brecht’s play emphasizes the playwright’s quest for peace and justice in the face of war.

Brecht is known for his usually heavy plays, and he was a pioneer of modern theater, advocating for art which encouraged social change and action. He does not try to entertain, but to provoke thought. He weaves humor over his weighty topics, yet is not afraid to momentarily show the audience the darkness he dances around.

“The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” perfectly captures the ambiguity of a war zone: the audience is faced with both the menace and grandeur of battle, the invasion and desperate plight of the insignificant. Even the resolution of the play is overshadowed by unanswered questions: does war further justice? Does justice further peace?  As an actor, these ambiguities are a space for work.

“The Caucasian Chalk Circle” calls for over 70 characters and Arena Theater’s current production is populated by only 18 actors. We are all playing many roles, attacking problems from several points of view. Many of these characters are terrible people: selfish, deceitful, filthy. It is the actor’s job to humanize them, and I find myself asking, “How is this person better than I?”

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I am forced to be patient, generous, and even merciful with these characters as I simultaneously use them to tell a story while also authentically advocating for them in their own risky worlds. Perhaps it is this mercy which can further peace in the world as we reach out to “the least of these.” 

Brecht keeps his story moving through song and Arena’s production pairs the confrontational, driving energy of hip-hop music with the playwright’s need to be heard. Beats and textures dominate the soundscape as characters and musicians fall in and out of rhythm with Brecht’s songs and dialogue. 

Working with composer Elliot Leung '17 and director Michael Stauffer, we fit words to music to stage in a daunting feat of multi-media manipulation. We decided to end the play with a prayer. 

I adapted the tune of this “Dona Nobis Pacem” from the end of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8, composed shortly after WWII. The tempestuous symphony plots the end of a turbulent war and concludes in a major key, but deep rumblings of twisted musical phrases continue beneath the tranquility. The peace is not so peaceful after all. To reference Isaiah, though: we cry for peace! There is none. Perhaps as Christians we are the peacemakers of the world. Brecht certainly begs us to be.

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Max Pointner '18 is a sophomore art history major and part of Arena Theatre. To learn more about Wheaton theatre and the play Caucasian Chalk Circle, visit Arena Theatre's website.

Photo Captions: Lauren Gathman '17 and Olivia Wilder '16; Max Pointner '18 and Wilder; Gathman, Travis Shanahan '16, John Ingraham '18

Photo Credits: Paul Vermeesch '18 

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