NORTH NEWTON, KAN. Students settled into classes at Bethel College Sept. 2 after a weekend of activities devoted to developing relationships. Well-needed rain moved campus worship, athletic practices and other activities indoors during the weekend's Orientation activities, but on Tuesday the sun shimmered on the lush campus Green as the college bell tolled outside the Fine Arts Center before the semester's first convocation.
Students enjoy the community picnic on the GreenThe campus Green, the grassy lawn that stretches out in front of the Administration Building, became the focus of the first convocation.
In his speech, "Like the Green: Beginning Again," speaker E. LaVerne Epp, Bethel College president, identified the campus Green as the connecting center and spirit of the campus community.
"The Green is our geographical heart, the ultimate connector, ... a topographical compromise where the east, west, north and south points of our campus meet," he said.
Surrounded by buildings that identify Bethel College's academic disciplines, athletics and student life, the Green shows what the college community values. "Like a circle, the Green has no beginning. I think of it as always beginning."
Epp's comparison linked the Green to faith, learning and leadership.
"We are together for the first time, ready to make lifetime connections, ready to influence each other and ready to lead this college. To do so requires that each of us consciously recognizes the legitimate differences that exist among us. We are all different; being so makes us strong. Each of us must be willing to transcend those differences by identifying a common end where the diverse interests of people who work and live together can overlap."
Following convocation, where new students, faculty and staff were introduced, the campus community gathered on the campus Green for a picnic.