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Spring 2011 Alumni Newsletter

Photo Lee Radde (Fall 2010), Dordt College

“My Dad, the Downshifter” Nick Van Ee (Spring 2011), Dordt College, reflects on the lifestyle choices of his Australian homestay Dad, pg 3 Inside this issue: Wesley Institute Actors Win Award


Fighting Affluenza


Why we love the Rev. Dr Gordon Moyes


Bundanoon: A town free of plastic water bottles


Two Minutes with Wesley Students Pat & Percy

7 Photo Kaylee Wilson (Fall 2010), Palm Beach Atlantic Photo Kaylee Wilson (Fall 2010

ASC Alumni Newsletter

Photo John Leung

Wesley Institute Actors Win Award Melissa Clarke (Spring 2008), Trinity Christian College, currently works in marketing at Wesley Institute Wesley Institute’s Alumni Theatre Group, Twisted Tree Theatre, performed their original act, Commedia Della Scorreggia, in Short and Sweet’s Gala Finals on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th March, winning the award for the best ‘Independent Theatre Company.’ Short and Sweet Theatre is the world’s largest festival of ‘ten minute theatre’. It’s been running for a decade, and annually features over 300 ten minute plays at both national and international festivals. Commedia Della Scorreggia, both written and acted by Wesley Institute’s School of Drama Alumni Scott Parker (2009), Nicholas O'Regan (2009) and Ben Vickers (2007), and current Drama students Bobby den Engelsman and Andrew Bollom, advanced to the Finals after winning their ‘festival heat’ at the Newtown Theatre in January. Out of 194 ten minute theatre works within the Short and Sweet Festival (Sydney), comprised of over 1000 actors, directors and writers, only 13 were chosen to compete in the Gala Finals. Performing before a full house at the NIDA Parade Theatre, Commedia Della Scorreggia once again captured the audience with its witty script and engaging style.

Photo John Leung The award for best ‘Independent Theatre Company’ recognises the achievements of the company that excels both on-stage and off-stage. The Short and Sweet crew were given the opportunity to voice their input and recognise the theatre company that performed with talent, professionalism and concern for those around them (cast and crew). The award came with a prize package valued at $1000. Short and Sweet Festival Director, Alex Broun, on congratulating the group, stated, “The group of 5 boys from Twisted Tree Theatre are doing an old art form, but they are doing it very well.” Scott Parker, who co-wrote, acted in, and directed the act, was nominated for the ‘Best New Talent’ award. Out of over 1000 Short and Sweet participants, only a handful were chosen as finalists for the award. We would like to congratulate the actors on their achievement! For more information on Wesley Institute’s School of Drama, go to For more information on Twisted Tree Theatre, go to

Photo John Leung Page 2

Spring 2011

My Dad the Downshifter Nick Van Ee (Spring 2011), Dordt College. Would you like to make less money? It seems like a ridiculous question but it’s one that many individuals are answering in a surprising way. One such individual is Ross, my “Host Dad” for this semester abroad in Australia. Ross is a downshifter, a term utilized heavily by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss in their 2005 book Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough. According to Hamilton and Denniss, “Downshifters are people who have made a conscious decision to accept a lower income and a lower level of consumption in order to pursue other life goals.” (pg. 153) To the authors of Affluenza, downshifters are a special breed, heroes who ascend above culture to seek fulfilment instead of wealth; they are examples to be emulated. But the degree of praise Denniss and Hamilton heap onto the downshifters masks the important question. Is the average downshifter really happier, more fulfilled? Luckily, I have had the example of Ross to help me answer. Based on every experience I’ve had since meeting Ross, the answer is yes. Prior to acquiring his downshifter status, Ross was the head of a security firm that serviced many of the wealthier homes in the Sydney area. It was a demanding, lucrative, and prestigious job. But, with the last of his four daughters moving out and the untimely loss of his wife to cancer, Ross had a choice. He could bury himself in his work and accept a life of wealth and seclusion, or he could reduce his workload, grieve his wife, and then move on into a life of new relationships. Obviously, he chose the latter, and I doubt he’s looked back.

material currents. Instead of an expansive house on a cramped city lot, he lives in the home he inherited from his father-in-law. It fronts an undeveloped nature reserve and has a killer view, with a yard big enough for parties, bonfires, and play. Instead of rare books and expensive hobby items, Ross’s shelves are adorned with memories. Presents from past students and mementos from romantic evenings fill each empty space. The billiards table is not immaculate and unplayed, but worn out from good use. The fridges are packed, not with expensive pre-made meals, but with sandwich meat and sodas. The veranda is not new, but it has its own laugh lines. The granny flat that sheltered his four daughters now houses his many sons. There’s nothing about it that is the slightest bit fancy, but neither is one bit of it forgettable. There is a story for every inch, every crease, every crack and dint. Ross is a happy and fulfilled downshifter. Now, that doesn’t mean his life is perfect. He is, after all, still human. If you think that parenting an international menagerie of college-age boys is easy living then you’ve got something else coming. There are good days and bad; I’ve seen both already. But even the relationally bad days are better than materially good ones, because love isn’t real unless it can hurt us. And that’s the kind of hurt worth living for. So I ask again, would you like to make less money? Try it. Maybe the next time something hurts, it will be your heart instead of your pocketbook. References: Hamilton, Clive & Richard Denniss. Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough Allen & Unwin; Crows Nest, NSW 2005

Now, Ross lives life at a very different pace. He still works a few days a week doing consulting with long time client friends. The rest of the time he engages in relationship building. He has opened his property up for year-round hosting of international students, so that the man with four daughters now has as many as seven sons with whom to share his life, his wisdom, and his barbeque mastery. In addition, Ross is a father figure to his neighbourhood, providing food and care to the sick and elderly and providing entertainment and hospitality to all who drop by. He’s also dating again, and the time he doesn’t spend at work he spends in building a deep, sincere relationship. Downshifting has given him time for love. Even Ross’s house is a testament to his life, and it stands in stark contrast to those who have followed the

Ross Frazer with Fall 2010 students; from left Ethan Butler, Nyack, Jon Borr, Trinity Christian, Jordan Reed, Eastern University, Ross and Lee Radde, Dordt College. Photo Lee Radde, Dordt College Page 3

ASC Alumni Newsletter

Wesley Institute 2010 End of Year Dance Production

Photos Lee Radde (Fall 2010) Dordt College Page 4

Spring 2011

Photos Samantha Smith (Spring 2011), Azusa Pacific University

The Hon. Rev. Dr. Gordon Moyes Retires It is with great sadness that we say farewell to the Hon. Rev. Dr. Gordon Moyes, who has retired after nine years in the NSW State Parliament. He is an ordained as a minister in the Uniting Church, served for 27 years as Superintendent of Wesley Mission, and has been awarded Australia’s highest honours, both the Companion of the Order of Australia and the Member of the Order of Australia. Many of you will remember Gordon as a guest lecturer in the View from Australia class, and our guide through the NSW State Parliament house. It has been such a privilege for students to hear him speak each semester. We wish him all the best in his new endeavours, and considered this an opportune time to share some thoughts from current ASC students: “Dr. Gordon Moyes has presented through his life a unique example of the way the Christian call can be lived out in a non-Christian world, with courage, integrity, and respect, and without compromise. He inspired me to keep dreaming about ways I can express and act out my own Christian vision through whatever vocation I have, at any given time in life.” - Kara Doriani, Eastern University “I was most inspired by the Rev. Moyes' desire to share the gospel with members of the NSW Parliament. He pursued their hearts with such enthusiasm (speaking a bit of Scripture at the end of sessions, holding prayer meetings, being available even when he wasn't to speak with hurting people) that I couldn't help but wonder if I am neglecting a possible mission field in my life. I felt enriched after hearing him speak so clearly about the fruit he saw from God's continued presence in his life.” - Tess Livingston, Bethel University "Rev. Dr. Gordon Moyes is the most genuine politician I have ever met. He worked daily to promote the 'least of these' in an environment where others promote only themselves." - Nick Van Ee, Dordt College

Endeavour Postgraduate Awards Build an international professional career and undertake your postgraduate study/research in Australia. Australia is home to leading international universities that produce cutting edge research in fields such as climate change, energy, environmental sciences, public health, and indigenous studies. Endeavour Postgraduate Awards provide financial support (up to AUS$118,500 for Masters and AUS$228,500 for PhD) for high achieving American students to undertake a postgraduate qualification by coursework or research in any field of study in Australia.

Applications now open (closing on 30 June 2011) for Awards to commence in 2012. Note – Applicants must have applied for and gained admission to a Masters or PhD program in Australia. Conditional letters of offer will be accepted at the time of application. The Australian academic year starts in February/March and the majority of Australian postgraduate courses do not require entrance exams, such as the GRE or GMAT. The Endeavour Postgraduate Awards are funded by the Australian government. Applications and further information are available at Page 5

ASC Alumni Newsletter

Canberra via Bundy on Tap Lifestyle Commitment Spring 2011: A water bottle free ASC! Erin Sessions, ASC Coordinator

Photo Kimberly Spragg On our way to Canberra this semester, we stopped in a little town affectionately known as Bundy. What Bundanoon lacks in population (only 2035 people) they more than make up for in drive and ingenuity. In July 2009, the "Bundy on Tap” project was launched and Bundanoon became Australia’s first bottled water free town! It might be a small step towards decreasing plastic consumption but it was a giant leap onto the world stage for Bundanoon, and their clever community initiative has inspired many others (like the ASC) to go water-bottle free. We were lucky enough to meet with two “Bundy on Tap” committee members who explained that even though the sale of bottled water has not been ‘banned’ as

such, local business people have agreed not to stock bottled water and the townspeople of Bundanoon are proud not to drink it. Bundanoon has also installed a series of free, filtered water stations around the town. So, with neither supply nor demand for plastic bottled water and freely available filtered tap water “Bundy on Tap” is thriving. Since then many other organizations have gone bottled-water free, such as: Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College in Sydney, and Ashfield, Manly and Blacktown councils have announced that bottled water will no longer be provided at council and community events. Some Canadian councils have passed a resolution to ban bottled water in Canada, San Francisco has banned it, Chi-

cago has taxed it and Seattle has also taken action. Plastic bottles cause damage to the environment not only when they are disposed of but also in their production. The documentary “Tapped” paints the US bottled water industry in a pretty harsh light. Research shows that tap water is healthier, more environmentally sustainable, and more ecologically just than bottled water. You could think about joining your campus branch of “Beyond the Bottle” or, if your school doesn’t have one, you could start a bottled water free campaign. Oh, and by the way, did you know that Evian backwards is naïve? For more information on Bundy on Tap go to

The ASC Staff now have a facebook profile solely devoted to keeping in touch with you!

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Spring 2011

Two Minutes with Pat and Percy Wesley students Pat Guines and Percy Reddy talk ASC... Pat, what’s so great about ASC students? 1. They’re American!! But honestly their accent, hahaha... 2. Their diligence in studying and how they're just willing to put themselves out there. What is your favourite Australian thing to teach ASC’ers? 1. DROP BEARS! HA! 2. Best places to eat, cheap and delicious or best places to pig-out! Coz they’re always looking for somewhere to eat. And since Australia is so is the best buy (: 3. How to be an Australian...from the western suburbs. LOL What was your first impression of this semester’s group? 1. "Alright! Who am I going to date!?" lol 2. "This is gonna be an exciting semester"

Percy, what's so great about ASC students? What IS'NT great about ASC students? I love how I get to meet and welcome students into the community of Wesley. I especially love how there is always something to learn from each student. I really like the openness the ASCers have to offer. It's awesome to have the ASC share traditions and culture from back home. In general, it's great to INSTITUTE the ASC into our daily lives. Haha, get it, institute... What was your first impression of this semester's group? Hmm...I remember boarding the bus just before leaving the airport for Wesley. I climbed up the stairs, palms sweating. Anxious to see the group that sat before me, I casually walked onto the bus. Slowly walking down the aisle, I scanned the two full rows before me whilst trying not to stare back into the pretty eyes staring back at me. My first thought, what an incredibly good looking bunch. My second thought, who is sitting next to an unoccupied seat? Percy, what have you learnt from them? It's crazy how someone on the other side of the world can practice the same beliefs and lifestyle but share a different perspective. I've also learnt that when a paper is due, it is important to complete the assignment and hand it in on time. Amazing.

Photo Kimberly Spragg

What have you learned from them? Diligence, good manners and the best phrases ever! Oh yes, and how to guard my heart... Hahaha How do you think they impact Wesley? They bring the ghetto to the outback (: What’s your favourite memory of ASC students? What isn’t a favourite moment!? Hanging out, eating out and camping out (: Pat, you joined the ASC students this semester on both the Canberra and Outback trips, any comments? OUTBACK IS LEGIT! Stargazing, campfires and SMORES!!!!! Would you like to be an ASC student? Yes, yes I would. I'd love to be an Australian student going to America. Make it happen? (:

So Mr P, how do these cool cats impact Wesley? (Question edited by Percy) Too easy. They definitely add to the community. It shows that it’s never about where you are from and who you know before you set foot in a new environment, but about building community amongst each other and make the most of it, to the point where ASCers become Australian's for semester. It's their willingness to contribute and participate in Australian culture that gets Wesley involved in helping them to do so, an acquired openness. What’s your favourite memory with the ASC crew? Well, this semester, too many to name individually, but I love meeting the crew for the first time and getting to know what everyone's passions are in life. Really encouraging. Last semester I've gotta say Spiro camp. It when we were able to really get to know each other and spend time together. A highlight.

Australia Studies Centre a program of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities 5 Mary Street, Drummoyne, NSW 2047 P.O. Box 534, Drummoyne, NSW 1470 SYDNEY AUSTRALIA Tel: +61 2 9819 8823 Fax: +61 2 9719 1714 E-mail: Website: ABN: 76 128 260 793 (CCCU-Australia Pty Limited) Page 7

Spring 2011 Alumni Newsletter  

Newsletter for ASC Alumni, spring 2011