Wednesday, November 6, 2013
During Liberty University’s Homecoming weekend, I was able to hear from six Liberty graduates on a range of topics within Public Relations. It was the annual PRSSA Alumni Discussion Panel. Even Norman Mintle, the Director of Communications, made an appearance. The opportunity to network and learn from their experience was priceless. During the panel, these six alumni answered so many of the questions I was thinking about, such as what it’s like to transition from college to the real world and some good habits to instill as a freshman in college.
The event took place in a really nice, theater style room in the Arthur DeMoss Building. It was the perfect environment for a discussion panel and allowed for a lot of audience participation. Of course, everything these Liberty Alumni were saying was pure gold so I was laying down some serious ink in my notebook.
Through unique opportunities such as these, it’s easy to see how much the Liberty administration truly cares about my future. Even outside of the classroom, I am getting so much great advice and life wisdom that directly applies to me.
It’s crazy to think about how many stories I’ve heard of Liberty students going off to make a huge impact within a range of different fields. People that have really made a name for themselves, like Toby Mac, Rashad Jennings, Shannon Bream, and that’s just to name a few, have all been launched into their careers from this campus. I am definitely thankful to be learning under the same professors and getting the same education as so many that have already impacted the world around them for the better.
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
A local non-profit organization, His Vision Project, has a chapter on Liberty’s campus and recently held an event for World Sight Day. The leadership team did an amazing job of educating students on partnership opportunities with His Vision (and about how they can join the cause of “providing eye care to children in need”). They did this through a multitude of creative and fun activities throughout the evening.
The main event was a scavenger hunt that spread across the entire campus. Each team had to locate the single yellow balloons hidden around campus in order to find the next challenge.
My favorite was the “Gorilla Shades” challenge where a brave contestant would be blind folded and spun around, before having to put a pair of jumbo shades on a gorilla’s face.
I played the part of the photographer that evening and was, therefore, able to see all the teams competing for the win. I definitely had my work cut out for me as I ran from one corner of campus to another…and then back gain. It was so worth it though, to be a small part of all that His Vision is doing here on campus.
The leadership at His Vision had set up a room with balloons, cupcakes, banners, and display tables with plenty of information about opportunities and ways to get involved. This room served as the finish line and final destination for the night. I kept thinking about how well thought out and planned the event was.
(And it was all put on by students!)
They played a three minute video describing the history and the “vision” of the His Vision. After that, we heard from both the faculty sponsor and student president of the His Vision Chapter. And to end off the night, with much anticipation, the winners were announced! They handed out gift cards and other fun prizes to the winners.
And not one of the participants left that room with empty hands.
I’m grateful that Liberty places so much importance on making deep and lasting impacts in the lives of men, women, and children in need, all around the world.
During this event, I was able to see this process taking place in its most practical form; that being outreach and education by word of mouth.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
This past weekend I went on a mini road trip to King, NC (with a little bit of Winston-Salem mixed in). It was such a refreshing weekend and I welcomed the change of scenery. Right after my last class on Friday afternoon, I jumped in a car with my friends Maegan and Hailey and took off towards the North Carolina border.
Two and a half hours later, we received a very warm welcome from Maegan’s parents.
(Her two cats joined the welcoming committee as well)!
It was so great getting to know her family and touring the streets of King, their hometown.
We started the weekend off right by attending the festival! They had every kind of fried food that you can imagine, a cornucopia of abstract arts, and old school, country line dancing. It was everything one would hope to find at a festival, and on top of that, there was such a deep sense of culture and personality in the air.
The rest of the weekend was filled with relaxing and spending quality time with some incredible friends I’ve made this year. One of those friends is Adam and he was born and raised in King. I’m grateful for the chance I had to catch up with him and hear all that he has been doing. Another one of those friends is Josh and I was able to attend his church with him, along with Maegan and her family, on Sunday morning. He has really been a great example to me and actually calls Winston-Salem his home.
After the church service on Sunday, we decided to end the weekend off by exploring Old Salem (Winston-Salem’s downtown). The entire area was rich with so much history and I was even able to learn a good bit about the founding of the Moravian Church!
(Definitely an incredible way to wrap up an even more incredible weekend).
(genuine history from corner to corner!)
I came out of this trip so refreshed and thankful for the opportunity to switch up the normal routine for a few days. That being said, it’s definitely a blessing to be back on Liberty’s campus with a new handful of great memories.
Lynchburg is definitely a reasonable distance from a lot of different places, so I anticipate many more weekend road trips like this one!
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
You never really know what unique experiences are waiting around the corner when the weekend rolls around, especially here at Liberty. (And I’ve found that to be even more true if you’re willing to take a few steps outside your comfort zone).
Last weekend, one of those awesome experiences popped up out of nowhere, that being my first ever concert-on-a-stair-case! It really was a blast but in order to get there I really did have to “go with the flow” so to speak. I was sitting in the White Hart Coffee Shop, drinking coffee and reading a good book (my usual Saturday afternoon activity). When I first walked in the door, I ran into a friend of mine from Liberty. It was then that she told me, with great excitement I might add, that Dogwood & Holly was putting on a concert that evening, only a block away. Suddenly I was excited too because Dogwood & Holly was a local band (all Liberty students) that had made a lasting impression performing one of their songs in Convocation a few weeks earlier. Right then I decided that this was something I simply couldn’t miss.
One hour later I started walking up Main Street and could already hear the blue grass rhythms in the air. I was so excited to hear more than just one song from this band, although, I had heard enough to know they had real talent. I walked around the corner and this is the first thing I saw:
So many students showed up, packing the stair case with anticipation. And let me tell you, Dogwood & Holly exceeded everyone’s expectations that night. They were SO good! And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, they played the same song that everyone loved so much in Convocation! The name of that song is “El-Shaddai” and it goes a little something like this:
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Long before I even arrived on campus, momentum had been building up to a one night event that took place on October 24th. It was the live premiere of “Unstoppable”, a movie that Kirk Cameron partnered with Liberty to produce. This movie was to have only one showing and was seen in over 600 movie theaters across the nation (although it was extended to have one additional showing due to popular demand). And because the campus of Liberty was at the front of the entire production, I was even able to be in the live audience!
For the first time ever, I got to be an extra in a movie!
(I’ll need to start adding things to my bucket list if I keep crossing things off at this rate)
Seeing Mandisa and Warren Barfield made for a powerful introduction to this movie premier. They are both such gifted musicians and it was really neat to see them playing a part in this event.
I arrived at the Vines Center an hour early, anticipating a packed house. Lo and behold, I was right!
I was glad to be seeing the movie with a couple of my friends and we were able to get great seats!
When the movie officially started everyone in the building was cheering and the energy was enormous. During Mandisa’s song, “Overcomer”, I saw myself, and others I recognized, in the scenes sweeping over the crowd.
Kirk Cameron gave incredible insights throughout the entire movie in regards to the harder questions of life, and how we go about approaching them. The cinematography did such a great job of capturing, and putting on display, the true power of everything he said. I know without a doubt that there were thousands of people across the country, including myself, who were impacted in deep ways that night.
I’m grateful for Liberty’s constant investment in opportunities, like the Unstoppable production, that affect so many people in positive ways.
What an exciting and powerful night on Liberty’s campus. (Never a dull moment here!)
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Liberty University is constantly bringing in world renowned leaders and influential figures from all different backgrounds and fields. One in particular came and is here to stay, as the new head softball coach. Her name is Dot Richardson and she was the very first person to bat [in the very first game] of the Softball Olympics. She also played a key role in bringing home the victory for the U.S. in that first game. What a great opportunity for the Liberty Softball program, to have such a motivational coach who has made such a lasting impact in the world of softball.
I recently had the privilege of hearing her speak in Convocation and it was an incredibly motivational and inspiring presentation. What really stuck out to me was her balance of humility and passion. Dot explained that true leadership isn’t about feeling entitled based on a list of achievements (in Dot’s case, numerous Olympic gold medals). But it’s really about genuinely wanting to serve others with humility.
She fully had my attention after recalling the moments when each gold medal was placed around her neck, saying,
“When I stood in front of the whole world receiving those awards, I had an amazing platform to point to God and give Him the credit”.
I was so inspired by her story and all of the incredible things that she has experienced in her life; especially when she mentioned God’s timing throughout all of those opportunities. One great example was her fear of missing out on the first ever Softball Olympics. She was studying to become an orthopedic surgeon at Louisville but the timing couldn’t have been better. Dot was able to take a year off of school to play in the Olympics while still holding her place in the medical program. She would go on to get her medical degree in 1993!
(Wow, talk about being driven!)
Yet Dot Richardson is very quick to point to where her success came from.
I’m so glad I was able to be in the room that morning to hear about the limitless possibilities of a person who chases after their dream and doesn’t allow giving up to be an option. It was so easy to see how her words apply to my own life and I received a fresh wind of motivation from the passion Dot Richardson displays with her life.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013
With my Saturday afternoon wide open, I decided to embark on a journey to downtown Lynchburg. The weather couldn’t have been better. Clear skies and a solid 80 degrees. As I drove past the “historic downtown” sign, I knew I was close. The collage of color and architecture on both sides of the road made me feel like I was entering a different time period altogether. Just to give a taste of what I was seeing, this painting took up the entire span of a 2-story building wall:
So much personality and character flowed from every street corner and I was excited to spend the afternoon exploring. The one place I knew I had to visit was the all too famous “White Hart Café”. It was a vintage/trendy style coffee shop that had unfortunately closed down this past summer. However, to the joy of so many devoted customers, it was purchased by a Lynchburg local and reopened last Friday. When I walked around the street corner, I saw the sign and was excited to finally see this place for myself. It exceeded my expectations and I anticipated it becoming a new favorite study spot.
After spending a while at the White Hart I continued on my expedition around downtown Lynchburg. With no particular destination in mind, I walked all around, taking in the sights and enjoying the afternoon air. Every street had just as many beautiful buildings and cool shops as the last. One of my favorite shops I ran into was “Vintage Goods”.
Throughout that Saturday afternoon I saw so many cool areas of downtown and have yet to explore the vast majority of it. I’m so thankful that this special place, filled with so much history, is only 10 minutes away from Liberty’s campus. I’m excited to return to the White Hart and to discover even more cool places in downtown.
Now I know of one more adventure that’s always just a short drive away.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
All of my classes this semester are challenging me and giving me incredible insights; and I could easily write a blog about the impact each one has had on me so far. However, there is one class in particular that I decided to write about today. BWVW (Biblical Worldview) is a required class for all students at Liberty University. There are well over 200 students in my BWVW class on Mondays and Wednesdays, although on Thursdays I have an alternate BWVW breakout class. There are around 20 students in this class and it’s a new strategy that went into effect this semester.
The idea is that students in a very large class will still have the opportunity to get hands-on training in a smaller environment.
This is yet another example of how Liberty goes above and beyond as it strives for excellence, specifically within the academic structure.
It was in my last BWVW breakout class that I had a very impactful experience and I’d like to share it with you.
It isn’t a long class, running right around 50 minutes once a week. But Mr. Bielicki, my breakout professor, uses every one of those minutes. I always leave his class feeling so driven and inspired to chase after what I feel called to do.
Back to this particular class. Mr. Bielicki simply walked through a PowerPoint presentation titled “Personhood & Value”. One of the many points in that presentation was:” Whatever place you’re in has something for you to do. Don’t be eager to leave.” The presentation was filled with practical life application and was truly enlightening. The last 15 minutes, however, of class really drove home the impact.
Mr. Bielicki finished the power point and asked who the next great entrepreneur, doctor, teacher,etc… would come out of our class of 20 students. One by one, students began to stand up and proclaim what their dreams and aspirations were. Mr. Bielicki told us to keep going and asked, “Who are we going to launch next”?
Finally, it was my turn. I stood up and confidently said, “I want to work for IJM and travel internationally to help free people from slavery”. It was amazing how I truly believed I could do it. After I spoke the words, I felt so equipped and capable. Mr. Bielicki backed every student and he believes 100% that we can turn our dreams into reality. That makes all the difference to me. Having the influence of professors and teachers here, like Mr. Bielicki, is more of a blessing than I can put into words.Posted at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Monday, September 16, 2013
After a week of anticipation and rising spirits, the color red had permeated Liberty’s campus. The energy level couldn’t have been higher as students and faculty alike counted down to the first home football game of the season.
Even though I’ve never considered myself an avid football fan, Liberty has a way of turning you into one through the sheer excitement that surrounds you.
One could say I caught the “Flames fever”
The day before the game I was able to take part in a Liberty tradition known as “Gillville”. This tradition gets its name from the head coach of the football team, Turner Gill. The night before every home game, students are invited to camp out at the football stadium with music, movies, outdoor games and the opportunity to meet the head coach. The all-time record for attendance is, or rather was, 120 students. That record was more than tripled at this first Gillville with an attendance of 377 students! (Including myself of course). The school spirit at the stadium that night was so immense and highly contagious. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.
Posted at 10:23 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink
Thursday, September 12, 2013
During Spiritual Emphasis Week, hundreds were saved and brought from death to life. A little over two weeks later, those students would have the chance to be baptized at Campus Church and make a public declaration of the decision they had made. This past Wednesday, that night finally came and it was indescribable (but I’ll try my best to describe it to you anyway).
Over 100 students were baptized in a single night at Campus Church and it was a night filled with rejoicing and celebration.
Before the baptisms began, Clayton King went on stage and opened The Bible to Romans chapter 6 and read “for if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his”. Clayton boldly declared to everyone that Jesus has already died once and will never die again. What a powerful way to start out the night.
The band played powerfully as a testimony to what the Lord was doing. I stood in the crowd and cheered along with everyone in that room every time another new believer went under the water and back up again. It was one long worship service and the joy in the room was tangible. The last person to be baptized that night was Josh, who lives in my residence hall on campus. I was so excited for him, after seeing the journey begin in his life two weeks earlier. After the baptism’s ended, Clayton gave an invitation and dozens more gave their life to Christ. What?? But the reality is that whenever God is involved, there is always more in store.
One thing that is, without a doubt, a top priority at Liberty is reaching students for Christ. Ranging from campus church to the classroom, the goal is for every student to know Jesus personally (in one class alone, 100 students have already been saved!). The stories I’ve been hearing seem to be endless.
After all that has happened so far, only three weeks into the school year, the presence of The Spirit is so rich. Amazing things are happening here and I’m so thankful just for the opportunity to witness it. Constant inspiration flows through the students here and genuine joy is a common denominator. This campus is moving in unison closer to God and I’m in anticipation of what could happen this semester; the possibilities are truly limitless. Why limit God by ruling out the impossible? I’m learning to dream big here because we serve a big God.
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