Hello Wheaton fam!
My name is Morgan Jacob, and I am excited to serve as the Student Body Vice President for the 2015-16 year. Student Body President Josh Fort '16, the rest of the Student Government (SG) team, and I just enjoyed a fulfilling Student Leadership Development week at HoneyRock and a rewarding time of policy development on campus, and we are ready for an incredible year.
While at HoneyRock, we spent some intense time evaluating our vision for the year. Ultimately, we felt that one cohesive statement explained our group’s heart for this year:
“Student Government seeks to embody Christ's love by being a proactive, hospitable family.”
Let’s unpack that a little, with definitions for those last key words. The first word is proactive. We desire to enable thoughtful, positive change toward reformational justice. SG is one of the few student organizations on campus that focuses almost exclusively on change. We have a unique opportunity to change Wheaton for the better, and we wanted to focus on directing change toward reformational justice. So whether it be working to add new discounts to the Wheatie card so students have more access to resources in their community or campaigning for more sustainable waste practices in order to better care for God’s creation, look out for SG to be working for impactful change.
The second word is hospitable. We desire to create spaces to listen to others and help them process. Student Government is most effective when it listens to the wide-ranging views of the student body, but we wanted to take that a little farther. We want to wade into the emotional, personal issues on campus, and to walk alongside our fellow students through their struggles. We want to empower students to tell their stories and interact with each other on an individual level.
Lastly, we want to be a family, a cohesive community that symbiotically enables one another. At the end of the day, we want to be able to come together, bear each other’s burdens, and share in the unique experience that is Student Government. Whether in an SG Fun Night or in a group workout, we’d love to come together outside of the boardroom.
So, that’s this year’s SG in 400 words. If you’ve got questions, thoughts, or ideas for how to make Wheaton better, drop us a note in the suggestion box in Lower Beamer, or use the Wheaton app to enter a suggestion. We’d love to hear from you!
Morgan Jacob ’17 is the Student Body Vice President for the 2015-16 school year, serving alongside Student Body President Josh Fort ’16. Learn more about Student Government on their website. Photo captions (from top): Morgan and Josh welcome new students at 2015 Orientation's "Mastodon March" outside of Edman Chapel; 2014-15 Student Government members at the 2015 President's Ball.
Hey there, new students!! This year I’ve had the privilege to serve on the Orientation Committee (OC), and we are pretty darn excited to finally meet you. We have been planning since January, and have a great Orientation week ahead for you!
The time has come for you to start writing your story at Wheaton. Amid all the emotions you may be feeling, I hope you are excited and expecting incredible things for these next few years.
You may be new students now, but soon enough you will be studying for that killer final, “hammocking” on Blanchard lawn, campus golfing, attending “Prez Ball,” and waiting in the seemingly never-ending line for omelets at breakfast (worth it). Before you know it, you will be firmly woven into the fabric of our community.
Here are a few tips on how to tackle you first week as an official Wheatie:
- Ask a different question. “Where are you from?” “What are you majoring in?” Brace yourself for hearing the same 5 questions repeated approximately 217 times. Be the person to think outside of the box and ask something like “What do you want to explore in Chicago?”
- Be yourself. This is probably the most cliché but important thing to remind you. Don’t waste your time trying to fit into a mold of who you think you should be. Embrace what makes you different. Celebrate your diversity! Likewise, celebrate those around you.
- Pace yourself. Take advantage of the events and the down time. Be all there during the events, no matter how trivial you may think they are. At the same time, don’t pull an all-nighter trying to have an intentional conversation with every single person on your floor. Trust me, you will have plenty of time.
- Check out these links to stay connected: Visit our website for all things O-week, including a schedule of events, and use the hashtag #WheatonOrientation on all things social media.
At this point, you probably have answers to a few basic questions: Where are you living? What professors should you choose? How many jackets do you need? As you enter Wheaton, there is one more question to which I would like to draw your attention. This year’s Orientation theme verse, John 6:68-69, asks the question, “To Whom Shall We Go?” Interestingly enough, the question actually functions more as a profound statement of faith. My hope is that we as a community will proclaim with a voice of surrender and trust, “Only to you, Lord.” In a world that is constantly changing, let us hold tightly to our never-changing God.
On behalf of Orientation Committee and the rest of the Wheaton College family, we can’t wait to finally meet you!
Dana Henderson ’17 is this year’s Orientation Committee director. She is originally from Fullerton, California, and is a junior studying Applied Health Science and Business/Economics with the hope of pursuing a career in management within the healthcare field. Learn more about Wheaton Orientation on their website. Photo captions (from top): Getting excited for O-week while wearing our Orientation shirts at HoneyRock!; Setting out on our two-hour canoe trip to our overnight campsite during Student Development Week at HoneyRock...talk about team bonding!
It’s hard to believe that my freshman year is just a few short weeks from ending. It has been a whirlwind experience, and God has surprised me in ways that I never expected. I found my first surprise on my floor this year, Fischer 4West. I grew up as the only girl with three younger brothers, so the idea of suddenly living in close quarters with 50 other girls was both exciting and a little daunting. I had heard great things about residence life at Wheaton (or Res Life, as it is endearingly termed), but I also knew that housing that many girls together held potential for some serious drama.
All of my hesitancies have disappeared as I’ve gotten to know my floormates this year. I have laughed heartily and cried bitterly with these girls, shared lots of meals, enjoyed fun days in Chicago and long nights of good conversation. They are so much more than floormates to me now. They have become some of my closest friends, and I am 100 percent confident that those friendships won’t end with the close of this school year.
A second surprise came through landing a job in Wheaton’s Academic and Institutional Technology (AIT) department. As an English and secondary education major with no prior IT experience, I wasn’t expecting much when I turned in an application to AIT at the beginning of the year, but a few weeks and three rounds of interviews later, I was offered a position as a student tech in their office.
Learning to “think like a computer,” in the words of my supervisor, has definitely proved to be a challenging process, but everyone with whom I work has been incredibly patient and gracious to me as I learn to stretch this part of my brain. One of the best feelings in the world is seeing someone’s face light up when you fix their computer’s problem, and I love being able to help people in that way.
I discovered the third and final surprise—Wheaton’s community diversity—through class discussions and informal conversations around campus. In these spaces, I have found dozens of fascinatingly different nationalities, upbringings, and ways of thinking. I didn’t expect an explicitly Christian school of 2,400 students to offer that kind of diversity. I am so thankful that I thought wrong. Hearing other people’s opinions and worldviews has challenged me to think critically about my own beliefs as well as the beliefs of others.
People often ask me, “Are you glad you chose to go to Wheaton?” With newfound friends, the opportunity to learn to think like a computer, and a broadened view of life and the body of Christ, how can I say no? In fact, I’m so glad that I chose Wheaton that, next year, I’ll be serving prospective students as a member of the Diakonoi and building community as a returning resident of Fischer 4West. I look forward to seeing what other surprises God has in store.
Chloe Keene is a freshman studying English and secondary education. Learn more about her Wheaton experience by visiting her author bio page. Photos from top: Chloe and friends enjoy a square dance on campus, visit HoneyRock in the winter, and enjoy their proximity to Chicago and its landmarks.
In Hawaiian, “Ohana” means family. “Koinonia,” a transliterated form of the Greek word κοινωνία, which means communion and joint participation, basically holds the same meaning for me. “Koinonia” is an idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Body of Christ. Koinonia, a club within the Office of Multicultural Development at Wheaton that exists to glorify God through the unique cultures of Asian community, is definitely not this idealized perfect community. But with all its imperfections, it has been my refuge at Wheaton.
Before I got involved with Koinonia, I was its biggest critic. Like many Wheaties, I wrote Koinonia off as an exclusive Korean club. As a racial minority on campus and an ethnic minority among the Asian community, Koinonia seemed unwelcoming to me as a Taiwanese. However, as a cabinet member of the Chinese Culture Club, the opportunity I had to work with Koinonia in organizing the campus-wide Lunar New Year Festival event during my sophomore year proved me wrong.
During the two-month-long planning period, Koinonia’s cabinet showered me with love, acceptance, and inclusivity. Despite not being part of the cabinet, I was often invited to have dinner with them and was included in many casual conversations. Due to the kindness that Koinonia cabinet showed me, I could no longer stubbornly hold on to the negative image I had of Koinonia. Coincidentally or not, I discovered that Koinonia was preparing to recruit for the following year’s cabinet. My prideful self still desperately wanted to cling on to the bitterness I had towards Koinonia, but after a hard period of struggle, I surrendered my pride and pain to God and asked Him to give me the chance to be part of this community.
Through being part of Koinonia, I’ve learned the importance of race-specific ministries. Growing up in Taiwan and China, I’ve always held strong prejudices against other East Asians for political and historical reasons. The bitterness I harbored in my heart against non-Taiwanese Asians was eliminated through the relationships I built with my Asian brothers and sisters. Furthermore, I began to explore and find my identity in Christ in a contextualized way through living in a community that understands and affirms my Asian experiences in this country.
Serving as Koinonia’s president this past year has been the most humbling thing I have experienced my whole life. Not only did God expose an array of shortcomings I never knew I possessed, He showed me His abiding love and grace through my cabinet members. Despite the countless times I failed them, my cabinet chose not to hold grudges, but instead confronted me for the sake of reconciliation and love. They’ve seen the worst side of me, yet still choose to love me and respect me—if this is not family, I don’t know what is. They showed me that this community is not about perfection and performance; Koinonia exists for the imperfect and the broken.
In Hawaiian, “Ohana” means family. Koinonia means family to me. It is my family.
Jennifer Fu ’15 is a senior studying geology. Read more about her Wheaton experience on her author bio page. Photo credits: Daniel Sung-Min Yoon '15.
As someone who can’t remember a time before she was involved in singing for other people, it’s perhaps unsurprising that vocal performance major Hannah Benson ’15 has found a home in Wheaton’s Conservatory of Music.
“I love the way that studying voice makes me feel,” Hannah says. “I’m creating the sound physically, and it’s a very rewarding major to me because of that.”
As one of the lead roles in Wheaton’s Opera Music Theater production of Dido and Aeneas, Hannah has had ample opportunity to exercise her vocal talent in a community of fellow artists.
“I love the people in the conservatory,” she says. “Because there are so few of us and we’re constantly in the same building, we get to know each other really well. It becomes a really close-knit community.”
From Hannah’s perspective, this community includes professors, too. Working closely with well-trained professionals is made even more beneficial when paired with small class sizes and ensembles in which all participants know one another by name.
“It’s really rewarding in both the academic and emotional aspects,” Hannah says. “It’s been awesome.”
Hannah Benson '15 is a senior studying vocal performance in the Conservatory of Music. Learn more about her dreams and aspirations on her author bio page.