From Dr. Lee Snyder: ‘Seeing Each Other’

By Lee Snyder | December 15th, 2016


I AM OFTEN ON CAMPUS EARLY IN THE MORNING, coming to work before the campus bustles with activity. Those who eat breakfast are finishing up their bagels and cereal; here and there students make their way to an 8 a.m. class.

Then offices open, signaling the day has begun. I see a tipi set up on Thomas Plaza. At the end of the lawn, on Park Road, a provocative line of colorful tee shirts are hung on crude crosses. In the campus center hangs a purple banner painted with hand prints. These are signs of vigils, of prayer circles, of memorials and petitions – of commitments that move our students to join together in solidarity with people suffering across the world. In recent weeks, students have stood with indigenous groups and other advocates at Standing Rock, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline which threatens the water supply and sacred burial grounds. Undergraduate, graduate and seminary students have joined to mourn for child victims of gun violence; respond through prayer, art, and writing to sexual violence; and pray for peace in Colombia.

As a campus community, we have also listened, learned and reached out to the concerns of immigrants and marginalized groups in this time of post-election uncertainties. EMU is experiencing anew who and what we are as a Christian community.

That empathy and concern doesn’t stop with our graduates once they move beyond campus. EMU prepares graduates to serve and lead in a global context; for many of our graduates, that means serving here in the United States in a multicultural setting.

This issue of Crossroads – which takes its thematic title from a Quaker adage, “Let your life speak” – features alumni who have made conscious choices, as Professor Melody M. Pannell says, to “straddle worlds” and to work for the betterment of others in those worlds. These vocational choices can be risky, demanding and challenging work.

These stories touched me with their beauty and hope. As a campus community, we must remind ourselves regularly of our commitment “to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God,” values from Micah 6:8 to which EMU aspires. May you also be inspired.