WCSC…Exciting Past, Expanding Future

EMU’s Washington Community Scholars’ Center (WCSC) recently announced that three students from Bluffton University in Ohio will be based at WCSC in the fall of 2009. This is the first contingent from Bluffton to do service-study through WCSC. “Over the years we have attracted students from Goshen, Bethel and Hesston,” notes Dr. Kim Schmidt, director of WSCS and associate professor of history. “We are very excited to welcome Bluffton University students and the perspectives they bring to the program.”

The history of WCSC, previously called Washington Study Service Year, is covered in the book Long After I’m Gone – A Father-Daughter Memoir, by Deborah Good with Nelson Good (WCSC founder). Issued by Cascadia Publishing House early in 2009, the book intertwines the voice of Nelson ’68 with daughter Deborah ’02 as Nelson faces the cancer that will ultimately take his life. He tells of his involvement in seven projects, communities and organizations through four tumultuous decades. With disarming frankness, Deborah shares her journey of remembrance, loss and grief. Nelson died July 13, 2005.

The 5,000-square-foot WCSC building at 836 Taylor Street in Northeast D.C. was dedicated as the Nelson Good House on Aug. 20, 2005. It has a capacity for 15 students, as well as limited space for short-term educational visitors. “WCSC’s inter-disciplinary seminar analyzes social problems, faith issues and urban experiences through the arts, reading and writing assignments, and group discussion,” according to an overview posted at www.emu.edu/wcsc. The seminar is rounded out by guest speakers, internship placements, theater performances, and history and arts tours.

Nelson Good House is located in a working-class, largely African- American neighborhood. Students have private bedrooms. They participate in community living by sharing meals, cooking and cleaning, while practicing conflict resolution as needed. Doug Hertzler ’88, associate professor of anthropology who was mentored by Nelson Good, is associate director of WCSC.

Jason Good ’05, Deborah’s younger brother, works in the admissions department at EMU and is the women’s soccer coach. Jason just finished a master’s degree in Hispanic studies at Universidad de Cadiz in Spain. Deborah is pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Temple University. Eldest sibling Ryan Good is a graduate of Goshen College, with an MAT degree earned at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Their mother (Nelson’s widow), Betty, is a ’67 alumna.