The Winter 2009 Edition of Andrews University‘s alumni magazine, FOCUS, focuses on service and activism.
Stories highlight local efforts to fight poverty on Martin Luther King Day (p. 5), physical-therapy students serving in Honduras (p. 6), and Clinical and Laboratory Science (CLS) leaders delivering portable labs to North Korea (p. 7). I attended the CLS presentation on serving and training in North Korea and was truly impressed. Amazing. Marcia Kilsby’s stories and slides were especially interesting to me because I developed an interest in the closed state while working in South Korea for three years.
The Lab-In-A-Suitcase CLS donated and provided training for was quite impressive. The mobile units are able to perform a wide range of useful diagnostics and can operate even when electricity is out because they draw on a battery that can be recharged from solar power or electrical plug-in.
Action has mobilized students to involvement with the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, and connected them with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Invisible Children and Amnesty International. The group has taken students to Washington D.C., where they protested against U.S. human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay, and to Chicago, where they protested at the Chinese Consulate because of China’s funding of the Sudanese government’s actions in Darfur.
A strong force behind the heightened student participation in the now university-wide campaign for a cleaner planet is the Village Green Preservation Society (VGPS).
VGPS functions on campus in order to ‘educate, promote and participate in an environmentally positive activity that seeks to change the status quo for the better on campus and in the greater community at large.’ The group drew its name from 60s English rock group, The Kinks…
Green activities mentioned in the article include promoting alternatives to styrofoam in the cafeteria, obtaining a recycling grant, and pioneering the use of e-books.
Twin articles by Greg and Andy Gerard (father and son) round out the reports on better world activism. Andy, who recently graduated from AU, says,
I believe Andrews University can have an important place in activism. Its diverse student body (many of whom have experience human rights abuses, poverty and injustices firsthand) is uniquely qualified to effect meaningful change. My only fear is, faced with innumerable complicated and frankly depressing issues on one side, and the comforts (and challenges) of college life on the other side, will result in disengaged students who will insulate themselves and take the easy road…
Greg shares from his heart,
Adventists from my generation aren’t quite sure what to do with the fact that many young people are concerned with feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting those in prison…. My contemporaries talk about how we need to make sure young people know what is important about last day events, church history and lifestyle issues. Talk all you want, but unless the concept is deeply rooted in scripture, makes sense in practical ways and addresses current social issues; I’m not sure they will care. If older people like me think we can stop the changes young people will bring to our church, dream on. They will either change the church or leave it. They are doing both.
I’m encouraged to see this level of student involvement in pressing issues. Stay tuned for future reports from other SDA campuses; students are participating in social activism from coast to coast in the U.S. and beyond.