December 2015

Learning, Growing, Giving Back: Graduate Resident Adviser

Posted December 11, 2015 by Ethan Jones M.A. '17

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Three years had passed since I completed my undergraduate degree, and I was struggling to figure out what the next step in my life was going to be. I looked into seminary degrees and teaching, anxiously searching for hours online. It felt like I only had three truths to lean on: the discipleship relationships I had experienced brought me great joy, I had much to learn about practical ministry, and God had always been faithful to provide a next step.

After finding Wheaton’s Graduate Resident Adviser (GRA) position, my wife and I prayed for confirmation that this was the right next step. Soon after, I discovered that the GRA positions opened many educational and practical opportunities to disciple men and women in the Residence Life setting. The Holy Spirit made our next step clear: we would live and learn with the Wheaton family.

And honestly, Wheaton has truly become our spiritual family. Between the Christian Formation and Ministry (CFM) program with a concentration in Student Development, the weekly student gatherings in our apartment, the honest community of believers, and discipling men through tough issues, I am constantly amazed by God’s provision of learning and opportunity.

Through the CFM program, God has fanned the flames of my heart to love Jesus more. My professors have embodied the transformational power of a relationship with Christ, exemplifying how Christian education must revolve around knowing and experiencing Christ. As Charles Spurgeon prayed, “Lord, be present here, then will I look up from the book [Scripture] to the Lord—from the precept to Him who fulfilled it, from the Law to Him who honoured it, from the threatening to Him who has borne it for me, and from the promise to Him in whom it is ‘Yea and amen.’”

Ethan Jones M.A. '17 is pursuing a masters in Christian Formation and Ministry with a concentration in Student Development. He is a Graduate Resident Adviser (GRA) in Terrace Apartments, one of Wheaton's upperclassmen dorms, and works in the Residence Life Office. To learn more about Wheaton's graduate school, the CFM program, or the GRA position, visit their websites. 

#GivingTuesday: Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

Posted December 2, 2015 by Erica Forkner '17

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giving-tuesday

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 

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