STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 06/14/2010

Student Stories: On Campus

Hosted by the student-led organization Advocates for a Sustainable Future (ASF), Earth Week (April 19–23) featured a variety of unique and creative events, including a concert with recycled “instruments” on the benches outside the Ken Olsen Science Center. 

Gordon Launches Innovative News Service
In response to dwindling staff at local newspapers, Gordon launched the Gordon College News Service (GCNS), an internship program providing journalism students the opportunity to gain professional experience while covering a wide range of stories that then become available to media outlets who partner with GCNS.

“It’s a win-win for our students and media partners,” said GCNS editor Jo Kadlecek, senior communications writer. “We’re looking forward to serving the community in this way.”

Established as a capstone internship program for journalism students, the GCNS program accepts three to five students per semester. Each piece the fellows produce is first distributed to the GCNS media partners and then posted online.

The worst fears Niltzer Fils endured during the first three days after the catastrophic earthquake in his homeland of Haiti never came to pass.

After the agonizing wait—“The phone was like part of my body,” he says—the second-year Gordon student learned from an uncle that his immediate family had escaped injury.

After the agonizing wait—“The phone was like part of my body,” he says—the second-year Gordon student learned from an uncle that his immediate family had escaped injury.

But these are still hard days for the business administration major, even as his faith is strengthened. Fils, 23, worries about the families of the tens of thousands of victims. He is heavyhearted about survivors who lost everything, though his own town of Fontamara, just outside Port-au-Prince, came through fairly well. And while his mother, father, two brothers and sister were uninjured, he is anxious about what the future holds for them—in the short term and for years to come.

Meanwhile, Fils goes about his business on campus—wishing he could help, fearful a visa situation would prevent his return to the United States if he were to head home to help. It was his desire to do something—even just to raise awareness, he says, that compelled him to tell his family’s story.

The most pressing problem for his family is food. When relief workers make deliveries, the scene can be chaotic and dangerous. “People are fighting for food. My family’s not used to that,” he says. Looking into the future, Fils worries about his siblings’ education. His 19-year-old brother was supposed to graduate from high school this year. “Right now there is no school standing. It’s going to take a long time.” Fils said he would like to bring him, along with their 16-year-old sister, to the United States to continue their education.

He hopes the disaster ultimately fuels spiritual revival in Haiti. Answers to some of the big questions elude him. But he knows that his own prayers during those awful early days after the earthquake were answered—that his family would be safe, and that he would be able to forge ahead.

“God gave me the strength,” he says. “I think my faith is getting stronger and stronger. The whole time I couldn’t get in touch with my family, I was just trusting God.” When he got the good news from his uncle, he thought, “All these dead bodies and no one in my family is among them. It’s a miracle.”

Fils would like his Gordon classmates to support relief work as they are able to. “If nothing is done, this could be the end of Haiti,” he says. “And I think people understand that.” Even more than hoping they give, Fils hopes fellow students pray. “The most important thing is prayers. Prayers for this time of change in Haiti.”

This article was written by the class that produces
The Tartan.

From losing your car keys or deciding what to wear each morning to wondering what to do with our lives, everything was fair game in Gordon College’s recently performed original comedy about uncertainty entitled I Don’t Know, I Just Don’t Know.

The fast-paced production marks the third comedy event in the 10th anniversary year of the Barrington Center for the Arts and was directed by Norman Jones, associate professor of theatre.

Known as a “devising” in the theatre world, I Don’t Know, I Just Don’t Know drew from improvisational scenes the cast of 12 student actors created while a student crew filmed them. The video scenes were then viewed, transcribed, copied and distributed to the cast to determine which fit into an overall storyline. Jones and the ensemble then edited each scene, assigned roles and reworked the collaborative scenes into a three-act play. The performance included musical and comedic interactions that touch on daily life—Where are my keys?—as well as more in-depth themes such as faith, doubts, politics and injustice.

“Since September 11—and now Haiti—our world has experienced more uncertainties than we have known what to do with,” Jones said. “We all wonder why certain things happen or the reasons behind experiences we’ve had. For instance, why does the greatest certainty in a Christian’s life—God—also seem like the greatest uncertainty at times? Our show touched on our responses to these issues—in hilarious ways.

“This talented group of actors wasn’t afraid to explore a range of issues, often making visible to the audience the invisible elements characters face on stage. It was an opportunity to engage in the questions we face each day—with humor.”

Pictured, left and right: cast members Susanna Young ’11 and Rachel Strasner ’10

Megan Nadeau '10

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” Members of Bread Groups know this verse in John so well that they live it by engaging in small groups on campus to study books of the Bible, explore issues like brokenness and healing, or pray for the persecuted church. There are about 30 groups, and this year faculty and staff have also joined.

Having led many bread groups over the past two and a half years, I realize I often learn more when I lead because of the people in my group. Last semester my group studied Romans. Judith Kasiama ’12 courageously opened up about difficulties she was facing—mainly uncertainties about being able to return to Gordon because of immigration difficulties within her family. As she shared, I found myself continually challenged and encouraged by the strength and faith she personified. While still unsure of her future, Judith has decided to lead her own bread group this semester, trusting in God and encouraging the rest of us with her unshakeable faith.

Dylan Girard '10

  From draining three-point shots to jaw-dropping buzzer beaters, Aaron Trigg has provided excitement at Gordon’s men’s basketball games. Over the past four years Trigg has been one of the most successful players to put on a Fighting Scots uniform, but the impact he leaves stretches far beyond the basketball court.

A senior and recent recipient of ESPN’s Academic All-District basketball award from district one of the college division, Trigg has rendered leadership in several areas, from cofounder for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Gordon to inaugural president of the Commonwealth Coast Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Trigg has also maintained an impressive 3.8 GPA in his business administration and finance majors while being a two-year captain for the men’s basketball team.

“What I love most about Aaron is that he very well embodies what the Division III student-athlete should look like,” says Gordon’s athletic director, Jon Tymann. “His leadership has reenergized certain areas on campus.”

Before Gordon, Trigg received the Kansas City Star Metro Scholar Athlete of the Year, awarded to the top male scholar athlete out of 99 metro area schools. He also received the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission Kansas Athlete of the Year, which recognized his athletic achievements in football, basketball and track. As a Fighting Scot, Trigg broke the 1,000-career point mark as a junior and has continued to add to his total over his senior year while adding several TCCC Player of the Week awards and many other personal accolades.

“I am fortunate to have the success I have had so far,” said Trigg. “My parents set an amazing example of Christian values, integrity, character and focus on hard work. I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without them or my Gordon teammates and friends.”

Wherever Trigg’s name ends up in the record books, it is his infectious work ethic, kindhearted personality and fervent leadership that define his four-year career at Gordon College. And it’s those attributes that will not only help him in life but give future Gordon athletes a role model to emulate.

NEXT: Student Stories: Off Campus