Our core values
Fundamentally, EMU is committed to — and delivers — a rigorous academic program that is affordable and that prepares graduates to succeed in their careers and further academic pursuits.
Our educational mission and vision are grounded in the enduring biblical values of community, service to others, sustainability, peacemaking and discipleship. We educate undergraduate, graduate, and seminary students to serve and lead in a global context for the common good.
Community is a word you’ll hear a lot at EMU. It’s about caring for each other, close at home and far away. It’s about accountability to one another, building together — with shared values — the kind of campus community we want. It means that when one person hurts, we all hurt. We surround each other with prayer and tangible support in times of need.
Community is also broadly defined to included our world community. At EMU you, you will hear more about our world community than particular allegiance to one country. That understanding is shaped profoundly by intercultural study, which EMU has required for more than 30 years. Many students study abroad for a full semester, while others study in various cultures in the US, including Washington, DC, and places such as the Navajo Nation in the southwest.
Service to Others
During their college years students serve others through local organizations such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, join annual events such as Harrisonburg’s Blacks Run (stream) Clean Up day, volunteer at the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale, and take part in spring break service trips.
Graduates take the commitment to serve others into careers in education, social services, health care, ministry, business leadership, and many other fields. Outside of their paid professions, our graduates volunteer in their churches, mosques and local communities. Many graduates complete terms of service with international and local non-profits or non-governmental organizations, such as Mennonite Central Committee.
Sustainability and Stewardship
This sustainability timeline shows how EMU was committed to creation care long before “green” became trendy. Our sustainability efforts include earth care, as well as big picture thinking about what makes a sustainable community. Some of the campus sustainability features include:
- energy efficient buildings
- a solar array on the Hartzler Library roof
- campus gardens that provide produce for the dining hall and students
- integration of sustainability concepts into classroom assignments and discussion
The Anabaptist-Mennonite Christian tradition on which EMU was founded is respected worldwide for bringing people together to solve conflicts with words, rather than weapons. Peacemaking, conflict transformation, and restorative justice are guiding principles inside the classroom, in student life and across the campus community. Our Center for Justice and Peacebuilding is known worldwide for its academic excellence and practitioner-based programming. Undergraduate peacebuilding and development students may move right into a graduate degree at the Center, and benefit from frequent interaction with its students and professors.
Respect for people of all faith traditions is central at EMU while we are clearly grounded as a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition. Opportunities for Christian discipleship and faith formation are woven into the curriculum, campus activities and student life. We journey together toward deepening our values and faith formation. Graduates report that their faith was nurtured in courses and through personal engagement with faculty, staff and other students during their college experience.
EMU is a Christian university, rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. About a third of undergraduate students come from a Mennonite or Anabaptist background; a much smaller percentage of graduate students have connections to Mennonite congregations. All faith traditions are welcome!