The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Yearly event gives students fresh perspective
By ZACHARIAH BRYAN,
Published: October 6 2010
|Freshmen Carissa Bowman (left) and Alison Brooks clear out invasive species at Lewis Park in Seattle as a part of the community service project, City Quest. Photo credit: Photo credit: OWEN SALLEE.|
When freshman David Tuell first heard about CityQuest, he had no idea what it was, though he knew it was required for freshmen. Tuell was skeptical when he found out he was going to be working outside; he did not want to go out and weed invasive species, he said.
But when Tuell started working out in a field at the Magnuson Park Wetlands, weeding a swamp marsh, making a firebox and planting a tree, he started changing his mind.
“It just seems like an all-inclusive, really cool ministry that SPU gets to serve the community as a collective freshman class,” Tuell said.
Tuell was one of Seattle Pacific’s incoming freshmen who participated in CityQuest, a one-day service project to neighborhoods across Seattle, on Sept. 25. SPU partnered with 28 different organizations dedicated to service projects for the event. Students’ tasks included trail maintenance along the Burke-Gilman Trail, packaging food for Food Lifeline and renovating a house into an urban arts center.
“Students meet up with people who are passionate about some cause in the city, whether it’s homelessness or (…) women and children in transitional housing, or this neighborhood park,” said Owen Sallee, coordinator for Global and Urban Involvement.
“Whatever it is, they (students) get the opportunity to learn from someone who has really invested their lives in that kind of thing,” he said.
Sallee said his hope was for students to capture the idea of learning from community leaders. Working alongside people who are in their service projects “big time” can serve as inspiration and examples for students to learn from and think about, Sallee said.
For many freshmen, the trip was an opportunity to bond, particularly within their uPod groups.
Freshman Miranda Boulden, who was pulling invasive plant species along the Burke-Gilman Trail, said she was not a big fan of outdoor work.
Still, she said, she was appreciative of the support provided by her uPod leaders. Boulden was a little nervous and overwhelmed about coming to SPU, but having uPod leaders helped ease the transition.
“They’re the ones that made us feel comfortable,” she said.
Boulden said her uPod leaders told the group they wanted to maintain contact and possibly go on more service trips in the future.
“We’re going to try and do something as a uPod,” said sophomore Sabrina Fordyce. “We want to try and get people out and serving. There’s a lot of opportunities.”
Tuell, a pre-med student, said he was interested in doing community work in the future, possibly something in a medical setting, or at a children’s home, because of his love for children.
“I’ve always just had a cool thought in the back of my mind that I’ve never done before: A homeless shelter. You know, go in serving food and making food,” he said. “I think that’d be really fun to do sometime.”
In Rainier Valley, students have already followed up and contacted Stan Nsimbi, who coordinated the CityQuest event at Urban Impact, a local non-profit organization.
“They come and serve, they follow through and come back to the community,” Nsimbi said. “They don’t just stay in the Queen Anne bubble. It did not end with CityQuest.”
Even if a student is just going out to help an organization for one day, that day is still important, Sallee said.
“I think, really, it’s the idea of service,” he said. “Sometimes we have the biblical command to act justly and do justice and love mercy and walk with God. And sometimes I think people get scared off by that justice issue.”
But when a student goes out to help an organization, even for a day, he or she is still doing what he or she can to put forward the bigger justice work that organization is working on, Sallee said.
At Food Lifeline, students were able to finish two big projects, providing 42,611 meals to families in need in Western Washington, said Food Lifeline Volunteer Coordinator Cassie Rosch.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Sallee said. “I think that’s pretty big.”
University discourages Communion
The Falcon Refrains from Presidential Endorsement
Fremont Market fills streets every Sunday
Times article receives over 200 comments
A student passion brings healing to many