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J-term recap: Nature, aprons, civil rights and service

Students spent the month of January exploring new ideas inside and outside of the classroom.

For three weeks in January, students stepped back from the busy routines of the semester for some fun during JTerm.

Teams of students and professors went out to serve in Jamaica, India, Belize and Thailand.

God’s love was shown through construction projects, teaching ministries and volunteer work across the globe as students engaged with the local people and experienced what the culture had to offer.

“I loved getting to know more about a different culture and forming new relationships,” junior Anna Ruth, who was on the India team, said.

While most students didn’t spend their Jterm overseas, some were able to travel to a different part of the country for a duration of their class.

The American Environmental History class, taught by Jeff Webb, Ph.d., spent a week in Everglades National Park in southern Florida to learn about the history of the Everglades.

Some of the activities the students did included a seven mile bike ride through the Everglades park, a hike through the Gumbo Limbo trail, canoeing through Everglades City, and several stops at Robert is Here — a famous fruit stand in southern Florida.

Junior Adrienne Funderburg said the trip was a “great opportunity to experience a unique part of God’s creation.”

“We don’t often learn about how we interacted with the environment in different ways at different times,” Funderburg said, “so the class helped me learn to look for that aspect of history in the natural world.”

Sophomore Mark Dold said one of the students’ tour guides mentioned how the Everglades is a place that “whispers its beauty to you,” and the more you know, the louder the whispers become.

He said the trip taught him the importance of listening for things that are not “immediately apparent.”

“Be it in nature, relationships, or with God,” Dold said, “I now know the importance of those whispers.”

The Civil Disobeiance and Non-Violent Protest class, led by Norris Friesen and Jesse Brown, went to Bimingham, Selma and Montgomery, Alabama — the heart of the civil rights movement — to see firsthand  the historical and crucial churches, landmarks and cities that hosted much of the civil rights movement.

The group saw the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists marched for civil rights, and visited the Martin Luther King Jr. House.

Junior Selina Pohl the class put the racial issues in America she’s heard about in her face for a week.

“You couldn’t escape the uncomfortableness of it,” Pohl said. “Having those problems in close proximity was really good for me to be more passionate about racial issues in today’s society.”

Some of the on-campus classes included Victorian Culture and Crime, Learning to Think Strategically, Backyard Astronomy, and Basic Personal Sewing.

Students in the Victorian Culture and Crime learned about different aspects of Victorian culture, such as fan etiquette, attire and how to host a Victorian-esque tea parties.

Junior Hannah Priskorn said she was surprised as the similarities between Victorian culture of the day and American culture today.

“Men still wear tuxes and bowties [and] women are still expected to show some qualities, like having a chaperone,” Priskorn said. “You’d think that a lot has changed, but not much has.”

Learning to Think Strategically was a class that allowed students to do just that — think strategically — while playing different types of board games.

Junior Ben Crane said his favorite part of the class was “getting to know new people on campus.”

In Basic Personal Sewing, students learned the art of the sewing machine and how to make their own apron.

Sophomore Emma Fried said she plans on using the apron she made in the class while baking, and will continue sewing.

“I will definitely keep sewing because I work in the costume shop,” Fried said. “But also, I feel like I could take on some of my own projects.”

 

 

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