I don’t exactly know where to start. So much has happened since my last post. I apologize for the extensive absence of my blog. I want to make it a personal goal to post more regularly. In my almost year long silence from here, I have grown up a lot, gained confidence in myself and realized that God’s purpose for my life is bigger than I expected. The details of my freshman year of college at SPU and the many adventures it contained will come as I begin to post consistently again. Just a warning to the readers of this post; this will be long but I will try to be as concise as possible. I want to thank all of my readers for your patience and endless support. I am seriously in awe of the kindness and encouragement of all of you. It is truly a blessing to be able to share my journey with every one of you.
I seriously could not have asked for a better first year at SPU. Living on a floor of girls was definitely… a unique experience but I am so grateful for my wonderful, beautiful floor-mates and the fantastic PA who became my friend, momma, confidant and inspiration. I bonded especially with the girls I shared a nook with. A nook is a small lounge common area with two rooms and a bathroom on each side. I was able to grow closer to Sarah S, my lifelong best friend who happened to live just a few rooms down from me this year. I grew especially close to Ali (name and personality twin! seriously a remarkable person), Annalise (our fabulous fashionista with a laugh that brightens everyone’s day!), Sarah M (the crazy smart, hardworking big sister influence who I shared many study dates with), Marcie (my suite-mate with a beautiful loud personality and a heart full of compassion that blows my mind) and Stefanie (the rower with physical endurance of a mountain goat who always knows what to say to make me laugh). These girls are those who I lived closely with but the whole floor was filled with girls who continue to amaze me with their strength, conviction and positivity. In addition to my crazy girls, I am blessed with meeting and getting to know the one and only Kodi who lived on our brother floor and was adopted by our nook especially. His endless wit, wisdom, perspective and support were such a light.
On an academic level, I learned so much about economics, faith and the God given purpose of business. SPU’s School of Business and Economics is founded on the philosophy that there is “another way of doing business.” This perspective speaks life into the often passionless, cold world that business is often known for. I learned that business is not a forgotten avenue to do God’s work but is more the foundation of all work that can be done in our Lord’s name. Business is in everything and because of this, has one of the most powerful presences in the world. In my opinion, business is service and has the ability to touch countless lives. With being exposed to this novel way of thinking, my personal passion for business has grown monumentally. I know that no matter what I end up doing, business will be part of it.
Also, SPU’s core curriculum includes classes meant to enable students to experience the Christian message and learn about the foundation of the Christian belief. With these classes, I had the opportunity to learn from absolutely incredible professors about the faith that I call my home. I feel so much more educated about the fundamental beliefs that are my faith. I also had the experience of confronting my convictions through literature and film. I am so much more “on fire” for Jesus and have an increased desire to know Him more.
In terms of accommodations and disability support services, I am blown away with the resources extended to me. I was able to complete work through braille, electronic documents, audiobooks and personal scribes for exams and projects. My needs are met here in every way and I am so thankful to work with the awesome team I have at SPU.
For my sophomore year, I will be living in a brand new residence hall called Arnett Hall. Additionally, I will be serving on hall council as a senator for the new dorm and the dorm I lived in this year. Arnett and Emerson will work in joint government for this first year of Arnett’s existence on campus. My main girl Ali and the amazing Kodi will be serving on Arnett/Emerson hall council as well. As a team of nine members, we are motivated to create a foundation of acceptance and positivity for the new dorm while continuing to build the identity of Emerson. I am thrilled for this opportunity to make a difference on campus and strive to pave the way for students with disabilities in Arnett hall while providing a listening ear for every resident. My ideas include tactile art for Arnett, braille labeling for all appliances, set service dog relieving areas, dorm documents in a variety of accessible formats and events promoting awareness of all that makes us unique as individuals. We are going to do great things and I am so excited for next year!!
The Day the Earth Stood Still
June 5, 2014 is a day I will never ever forget. At about 3:30 PM, a young man armed with a gun entered Otto Miller Hall on SPU’s campus. He opened fire on a lobby full of students seriously wounding one and taking the life of another. While the shooter stopped to unload, a brave and heroic student, John, took action and subdued the shooter long enough for police to arrive, preventing harm to any other students. Our community is unbelievably grateful for John and his selfless actions. But we are also heart broken by the loss of Paul Lee, the young freshman whose life was cut much too short by an act of such senseless violence.
Before and during the shooting, I was in a meeting in my dorm with my team of hall council members for next year. We heard the sirens racing by us toward the science building and joked about the police being after one of us before we were informed via other students that something much more evil had happened. Quickly, the whole campus went into lock down, alerting students via text, email and phone calls. We were told to lock the door and get away from the giant window in front of us that faced the building where the shooting occurred. Rumors circulated sending all of us into shocked, confused, saddened, angry, prayerful silence. Occasionally new pieces of information reached us and we began to create a bigger picture of what had happened on our beloved SPU campus. Listening to the phone calls to family of my fellow hall council members and then hearing my mom and brother sobbing with relief as I called to inform them of my safety, made the reality hit hard. It wasn’t until later that evening, when the lockdown was lifted, that we all learned the identities of those affected. It all happened too quickly. Our world was flipped upside down. A heaviness fell on our campus. I had friends who were in the building when it all happened. Their accounts and the scenes they witnessed still leave me stunned. But the loss of Paul, a freshman from a spirited floor on campus; a fellow classmate; an adored son; a roommate; a young man with hopes and dreams… all I can say is that he will be so dearly missed. I did not personally know Paul but watching as my friends who sat next to him in class earlier that day or had him in other classes, grieved so deeply, broke my heart.
But SPU will not be broken. We are a community of faith and hope and we will love each other through this. Although we are hurting, Jesus is on this campus. Even in the hours after the shooting, God’s loving presence was evident in every student. A prayer service was quickly organized for that night and the attendance was so great that they had to open live streaming locations on campus for people to attend. In subsequent prayer services, the response was only greater. Prayer circles were scattered on every lawn, candle light vigils were organized by students, flowers blanketed the entrance to Otto Miller Hall, love consumed this place. Love not only for the victims, but love for the shooter and his family. I saw no sign of bitterness but only extended compassion and support for the man who sought to hurt and destroy. That is Jesus in every way. That is what it means to be a follower of Christ. And that is the enduring spirit of Seattle Pacific University.
Attached to this post is our faithful SpU President’s heartfelt reaction to the shooting. Affectionately known by students as “D Money,” Dr. Daniel Martin is an example of raw faith and compassion. His unfailing leadership is that of a sincere Christian man. Throughout the year, Dr Martin was present at all campus-wide functions and played an active roll in our campus culture and community. This tragedy was no different. He grieved and continues to heal alongside us. This university is immeasurably blessed to have his strength, care and humility as a guiding light through this process of grief and healing. This is true leadership in every way. As Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, “we will overcome.”
Please stay tuned for a following post about my summer adventure at the National Ability Center.SPU President Dr Daniel Martin’s Sincere Message After Campus Shooting