Best-Kept Secret in D.C.?

December 19th, 2012 | 3 comments

Loren at Homecoming 2012

Loren Swartzendruber ’76, MDiv ’79, DMin, speaks at EMU’s 2012 Homecoming worship service.

Dr. Kimberly Schmidt, long-time director of EMU’s Washington Community Scholars’ Center, has often expressed the thought that WCSC is one of EMU’s best-kept secrets. As I perused the photographs and stories in this issue of Crossroads prior to press time, I couldn’t help but feel that Kim might be right.

WCSC students garner a wealth of job and life experience while taking rigorous academic courses. And, as one of the articles explains, “They don’t come back the same.” They come back with valuable experience for future careers, job offers in some cases, and deep insight into the possibilities and problems of life in a major U.S. city. Most of them have thrown themselves into “making a difference,” perhaps as advocates for social causes, volunteers at food pantries, or fundraisers for organizations serving people in need.

Their contributions are valued. In the words of Kirsten Youngblood Archer, a supervisor at Bread for the World, “Their work ethic has been unmatched … They have truly been an asset to our organization, contributing to the work we do in a meaningful way.” And who could have imagined that Justin Hawkins, a 2006 grad, would have gone from an internship at the U.S. Forest Service in downtown D.C. to his current job, where he sometimes rides a horse into remote areas of Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest?

It is appropriate that WCSC students live in a building called The Nelson Good House. Nelson Good, a 1968 graduate in sociology, provided the vision and a great deal of sweat-labor to bring what was formerly known as the Washington Study Service Year (WSSY) to fruition in 1976. Nelson died in 2005, but his legacy remains alive in alumni who have been significantly impacted by the program.

Elsewhere in this magazine, we recognize the vital role played by our donors, who literally make it possible for EMU to educate students and make an impact on the world the way we do. EMU would not exist if it were not for our loyal and growing donor base. Thank you, donors!

Loren's Signature
Loren Swartzendruber

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