The Liberal Arts
From the first BITH 111 class to the last senior seminar, Wheaton students become well-versed in talking about the integration of faith and learning. Slightly less common is the conversation about faith and work—until last month, when Opus: the Art of Work launched on Wheaton’s campus.
Headquartered in the Billy Graham Center, Opus is a new institute that “exists to provide leadership in the interdisciplinary study of faith and work, and to prepare Christians to flourish in a breadth of vocational roles for the sake of the common good.” Opus intends to serve Wheaton students, faculty, and off-campus constituents by hosting activities and programs such as an undergraduate vocational discernment program, a faculty fellowship program, church workshops, and various public speakers and events.
On Saturday, January 24, Opus hosted its first official event to kick off launch week. Nancy Writebol, a missionary and Ebola survivor, and Admiral Tim Ziemer, coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, spoke to an audience of students, faculty, and community members about their callings to service.
The rest of the week was filled with one fantastic event after another, including panels on solutions for poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship and innovation, a public discussion on faith and vocation, and a lecture and interview with members of the Redeemer Presbyterian Gotham Fellowship.
On Tuesday afternoon, I attended a panel called “Creativity Wanted: How Business, Mathematics, and the Hard Sciences Need Artists and Other Creative Thinkers.” Steve Garber, Dr. Kristen Page, Phil Vischer, and Mark Woodworth each spoke brilliantly on how art and science are never separate within their respective professions, but are integral parts of their work.
Mark Woodworth summed up the discussion well by saying, “We need art for life, and vice versa.” He posed the question, “How can I serve the needs of others, especially needs for truth, beauty, and good?”
On Wednesday evening, I had another opportunity to learn from people who are answering that question in their own lives. Katherine Leary Alsdorf and the Gotham Fellows kindly sat down with students to answer questions in a “speed-networking” format where groups rotated every 20 minutes. I thought this was a great way for students to engage with people who could give invaluable advice and insight into the professional world beyond Wheaton.
Opus Launch Week came to a close on Thursday, January 29th. Junior Zach Kahler, director of the Opus Student Strategy Team, described his own excitement for the new institute: “I’ve really appreciated the opportunity I’ve had to participate in Opus's debut…It’s been great to see a movement on Wheaton’s campus that emphasizes the truth of God calling us to a broad range of vocational fields for his glory.”
Sarah Britton Miller ’17 is a sophomore studying communications and international relations. Photos (from top): Mark Woodworth explaining a wood photography piece during the "Creativity Wanted" panel; Phil Vischer speaking during the "Creativity Wanted" panel; Nancy and David Writebol.
Credits: Zach Erwin ’17.
When I applied to Wheaton, I did not expect to have the means to afford attending. Nonetheless, when I received my financial award package, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Wheaton’s financial aid department had made it possible for me to come--something I would have not known if I did not apply.
That said, here are three financial aid tips that have made my Wheaton experience affordable:
- Apply to Wheaton
The first tip I would offer someone who is thinking about committing to Wheaton is to apply. One may well wonder how Wheaton can have a reputation for an eyebrow-raising tuition price tag and also be on Fiske’s shortlist of Best Buy schools. The answer to this is the Financial Aid department.
- Talk to Financial Aid
You’ve matriculated, you’ve had some treats at Sam’s Café, and you’ve Instagrammed Blanchard Hall. It may seem as if your Wheaton financial aid experience can be put on autopilot. Hopefully this is true, but sometimes unexpected events knock one off course financially. When this happened to me, and threatened my return to Wheaton, I went to the financial aid department to discuss my situation. It was then that I found they are not only good at getting students into Wheaton, they are good at keeping them here.
- Talk to Your Academic Advisers
Because I want to specialize in medieval Scandinavian artwork, there are not a lot of travel abroad posters hanging in Lower Beamer student center that apply to me. I had to do some research before I found there was a perfect opportunity for me to study at the University of Oslo. As often is the case for study abroad, finding the funding to go is just as important as finding a place to go. It was with the help of my academic adviser that I learned where and how to look for these funding opportunities. Your academic advisers have likely applied for these kinds of things their whole career and will have excellent instincts and advice.
Stephen Westich ’15 is an art history major from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. Apply to Wheaton and learn more about their financial aid packages on the financial aid website.
Young-Ho Moon '15 chose to attend Wheaton for its 3-2 dual degree engineering program, and is on the verge of completing both his Bachelor of Science degree from Wheaton and a degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Because Wheaton is a liberal arts school, it "wasn't on his radar initially," but after being accepted to both a "top-tier" engineering school and Wheaton, he decided to do an overnight stay with a "Deke" from the admissions office that changed everything.
"That visit really changed my perspective on what I wanted out of a college," Young-Ho says. "I think what I realized after visiting Wheaton was that I didn't want my four years of college to just be about learning engineering stuff or more equations...but really just developing me into the person God wants me to be. Wheaton offers holistic growth in a way other schools don't."
Young-Ho Moon '15 is a 3-2 engineering dual degree program student from China.
Jon Thornton ’16 couldn’t have guessed when he was first applying to Wheaton that working in the on-campus café—Sam’s—would become such a formative part of his undergrad experience. “I’ve made super strong relationships at Sam’s that have carried past when people have graduated from Wheaton . . . It’s a really good hub, not only for people who come to Sam’s, but for the employees to be able to get to know each other and hang out.”
Thornton describes Sam’s as one of the central meeting points on campus, and says he loves the chance to interact with “everyone on campus who doesn’t grab Starbucks on their way to work.” Located in the Beamer Student Center, which is sometimes thought of as the “living room” of campus, Sam’s workers like Thornton enjoy serving everyone from current students and professors to the visitors attracted by Alumni Weekend, Wheaton Connection visits, or community events like concerts or lectures.
Thornton’s love for people doesn’t just influence his preferred working environment—it also spills over into his chosen double major. Though he came into Wheaton as a freshman with the intent to study business and economics, Thornton discovered a passion and talent for new subjects through some of his general education courses. A communication and anthropology double major, Thornton loves to study “people groups and communication within people groups,” which he hopes will prepare him for work in advertising and marketing after graduation.
Thornton, who intends to pursue further studies in business at the graduate level, believes that the faith-based teaching he has received at Wheaton is part of what makes his education worthwhile. “I’ve interacted with a lot of really big ideas, and to be able to interact with those ideas in a Christian setting has been amazing,” he says.
Jon Thornton ’16 is a communication and anthropology double major. Video produced by Wheaton College Media Producer Kevin Schmalandt.
After three hours of discussion, we had gotten nowhere picking a name for our group. We argued through dinner, fought through dessert, and ended up in a dejected silence in the living room of Aunt Sharon’s Wheaton home. We had rejected puns, cheesy tag lines and anything having to do with Thor the mastodon. Our creative resources seemed to be exhausted. If we couldn’t find the perfect name, how would we create the co-ed, contemporary a cappella group that Wheaton so desperately needed?
Like many things, finding the name turned out to be a collaborative effort. As the fire dwindled, our minds rushed toward the same idea simultaneously: We needed a verb, meaning sound and power, calling to mind microphones, speakers, and opportunities to give the unheard a chance to speak and to sing.
We wanted to send a message to an audience: Amplify.
For the past three years, amplifying the voices of the voiceless is the mission we’ve stuck to. While we rehearse and aim for musical excellence, Amplify means more to its founders and members than a place to get the right notes or present the “right” appearance. Too often at Wheaton, and in Christian society in general, we manage our images, individualize our achievements, and place our value in perfection while performing. Amplify seeks to change that by giving people who might not otherwise sing the chance to love and be loved through music.
And because of that type of performance community, we have become more than a musical ensemble. We have become a family, the kind you both like and love.
The way we do this is summed up in Amplify’s most important rule: Don’t be afraid to sing loud enough for others to hear your mistakes. If you sing the wrong note, sing in the freedom of acceptance and with the humility to take constructive criticism. Being free to make a mistake changes what love means; because this love is unconditional, it’s safe.
So when you come to an Amplify concert, don’t expect perfection. Expect to see broken people expressing their brokenness, and finding hope in the truth of that performance.
Sarah Macolino '15 and Corinne Elliot '15 are seniors studying French and vocal performance, respectively. Photo credits: Whitney Bauck '15.