Another Campus Visit, This Time to Earlham College
On a slightly drizzly spring day, I was able to take a 75-minute drive due east of my home and spend the day on a campus I’d heard good things about but had never visited. Earlham College, a small Indiana liberal arts institution founded by the Religious Society of Friends in 1847, has a rich history of student development centered on peace and social justice. Moreover, as a Bonner Scholars Program campus, Earlham maintains a deep commitment to developing students for lives of service. Throughout the day, I had the chance to meet and talk with students about the world-changing power of RESULTS and how our advocacy model complements the service-learning skills they were gaining through their campus experience. I found the smarts, self-reflection, humor, and dedication of these students to be as motivating as anything I was bringing them as a RESULTS representative.
One of the most powerful moments happened because of a student who was part of last year’s International Conference Campuses for Change program (which is still accepting applications for the 2011 installment until April 30). Campuses for Change offers underclassmen financial support to attend the conference and participate in add-on events designed to deepen their roles as student activists back on campus. This Earlham student who had joined us for the program at the IC last year, and who had invited us to come to campus for the day, spoke passionately about how the power of advocacy had affected him. He had discovered that, not only could he raise his voice in the public square, but he was truly obligated to do so. His testimonial was more potent than any presentation I could have given, and I was reminded that, even though our advocacy work can sometimes feel complicated and frustrating, the core of what we are about remains potent: we raise our voices as citizens because we want the end of poverty to be a priority, and we know that we can achieve this priority if we have the political will to do so.
I can’t wait to see who we will meet in this year’s International Conference Campuses for Change cohort. It’s days like this one at Earlham, spent with students ready to change the world, that refreshes the spirit with the energy and hope to keep going.