SPRING 2016 CAMPUS EDITION
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 1
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 2
DREAMS What is a dream? Is it just a fantasy or wishful thinking? Or is it something more than that? For every university student and every emerging leader, a dream is definitely something more than just make-believe. Your dream is your direction. It’s where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want to do. It’s your map for generating transformation and cultivating an environment of innovation and creativity. It’s that vision in our mind that we think is impossible... but our heart believes is possible. A dream is that intersection of your passion and your personality. It’s where all of the gifts, talents, and desires God has given you will find fulfillment. You see, every aspect of your person was uniquely crafted for a purpose. Your passion, your personality, your sense of humor — all were specifically shaped to create your unique person. And when God designed you, He designed a divine destiny for you as well. And when we chase after our dreams, we chase after that destiny. Your God-given dream defines who you are. It gives meaning to your actions. Think of Moses leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. Without a dream, he was a man wandering aimlessly. He was guiding an entire nation into a desert of disempowerment. But with a dream, Moses is an example of courageous leadership. He overcomes every obstacle and empowers his people to transform from slavery to sovereignty. His vision interprets his journey. When we think of Moses, we don’t think of him as an Egyptian prince. We think of him as the Israelite leader who guided his people to the Promised Land. Why? Because we define him by his dream. A dream is bigger than you. It’s bigger than what you think is possible because the size and importance of your dream is not based on you...it’s based on who you think God is. Your view of your dream is directly connected to your view of God. And we do not serve a small God. We serve a God of unimaginable power and creativity. Part of our journey of faith is daring to dream those God-sized dreams! So, what’s your dream?
— DR. KENT INGLE
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 3
SOUTHEASTERN MAGAZINE TEAM
N I C O L E T I L LOT S O N
D E V I N YA S I
A DV I S O R
E X E C U T I V E E D I TO R
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 4
E D I TO R S
P H OTO G R A P H E R S
Nathan Chappell Kyanna Riggins
Kyle Ashcraft Priscilla Burr Dr. Craig Collins Frankie Cunningham Dana Davis Cameron Piccalo Anna Marie Smithâ€¨ Donnie Smith Dr. Ric Rohm
Mike Alderman Kendall Bolam Becca Cowling Josh Duke Chantel Munsey Evan Dell Photography Jordan Randall Dylan Renfro Loree Rowland Bran Santos Donnie Smith Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters Monica Winters
I L LU S T R ATO R S Victoria Bilsborough Stephen Leslie Genesis Rosario
WRITERS Ana Braccialli Kendall Bolam Courtney Floyd Kaylin Glass Jessica Kurbatov Arin Kurtz Sydney Merritt Cameron Piccalo Kurk Pyros Shayla Chambers-Setzer
SOCIAL MEDIA Jennifer Suarez
D U LC E B L A N D O N
V I C TO R I A B A R D E G A
D O N N I E E DWA R D S
LY N Z I L A P K A
P H OTO G R A P H E R
M A N AG I N G E D I TO R
C R E AT I V E D I R E C TO R
G R A D A S S I STA N T
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 5
CONTENTS SOUTHEASTERN MAGAZINE / SPRING 16
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 6
THOSE WHO MAKE YOUR DREAMS HEARD Senate gets revamped regularly, and this year the team has seen totally new changes.
and culture, but also impact the students individually, allowing each person’s voice to be heard.
The goal of Southeastern’s Senate is to represent the students’ ideas, just as the United States Congress is in place to represent the people and accomplish their desires in the context of the government. It may seem hard for a single person to see an idea into fruition, but Senate helps any voice or dream of Southeastern make its way through the proper channels into actuality.
“I want to see even more direct interactions with students,” says Jones-Downing. “Next year, I want to see senators sitting down in Portîco with students, listening to their ideas and dreams over coffee. I want to see students sitting in on our Senate meetings and getting to share their heart behind what they want to see on campus. I firmly believe that the future of Southeastern lies within the dreams of our students and I want our student Senate to make those dreams come true.”
Students who comprise the Senate board are chosen from each college and multiple departments and groups on campus, in an effort to represent the diversity of this campus accurately. They are devoted to making Southeastern the place that students want it to be. Anastasia Jones-Downing, director of student leadership, leads these students and provides them with knowledge and resources to accomplish their goals.
Senate has tons of suggestions and ideas that they filter through. The portal on MySEU called “Best SEU” is where anyone can submit an idea — from a small suggestion to the craziest dream for the university. Log into MySEU on your computer; and at the bottom, near the chapel schedule tab, there is also a “Best SEU” suggestions tab, which walks you through the process. Have you submitted an idea? If you have, they’re working on it!
“I enjoy knowing that each and every student at the table are young adults with a heart to serve,” says Jones-Downing. “Each with different backgrounds, talents and passions, the one thing that unites them is their love for creating opportunities for students’ voices to be heard.” “We have heard one [idea] recently about utilizing Victory Field’s jumbotron on the weekends to feature movies on the field with open concessions,” says Department of Student Experience Representative Aaron Mouer. “Another great idea was having a way for students to receive chapel credit while watching via livestream.” Not only does the Senate aim to improve Southeastern’s lifestyle 7
“We have so many awesome ideas, but we can only work on so many at a time,” says Athletic Representative Alyssa Ramos. “Keep sending the suggestions and we will work hard to make them happen!” It’s up to you to make this campus a success! If you want to dream big, join Senate on the Best SEU page and get started. “Be specific with your suggestions and put your name and email, that way we can get in contact with you,” says Mouer. “Also, get to know the senators; we’re here to represent YOU!” “If you have an idea, run with it,” says Ramos. “You never know what you can accomplish. Make our ceiling your floor; you have a voice, and Senate wants to hear it.” STORY: KURK PYROS DONNIE EDWARDS SOUTHEASTERNPHOTO: UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE -7
LIVING OUT THE DREAM Inspired by Kent Ingle’s word of the year, “Dream,” the wrestling team didn’t wait one second to start pursuing its goals, proving that being persistent and going after what you believe does bring results. “I can’t speak for our leadership team that came up with the idea,” says head wrestling coach, Javier Maldonado. “But, I think they thought that we can continue to improve SEU by being the first school in Florida to add wrestling as an intercollegiate sport; it speaks volumes of the leadership team. A lot of people have been working hard for a long time at trying to add wrestling in Florida, and the leadership team at SEU took charge and decided they wanted to be the first.” Since the beginning, the leadership team within the athletics department wanted to make sure that all they did in pursuit of a wrestling program was being done right. “They did their research and decided [to] add [a] building that would not only house the wrestling team, but also help with different events on campus,” says Coach Maldonado. Inspired by the Cornell University Wrestling Facility in Ithaca, New York, SEU’s new wrestling building next to the Student Activity Center has been gaining shape over the past months, showcasing only the beginning of the wrestling on our campus. As the days go on, the department still has long-term goals and plans in mind for this incredible journey. “We have to keep recruiting the right people that want to be a part of SEU — not just the wrestling
team,” says Maldonado. “We have to keep building this program with ‘For This Purpose’ in mind. We wrote our goals for the 2016-2017 season, and we need to keep those goals in mind as we finish the school year and go home for the summer.” The wrestling team is an ideal example of perseverance and patience; with the creation of the first intercollegiate wrestling team in Florida, the department hopes to impact the campus by creating leaders. “I think as we build this program, the campus, the community and the wrestling community we will see God’s purpose through our actions,” says Maldonado. Considering themselves lucky to be part of the SEU Community, the wrestling team aims for success through doing everything right not only on the mat, but also inside the classroom and among their spiritually.
“IF WE SURROUND OURSELVES WITH GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD THINGS WILL HAPPEN,” SAYS MALDONADO. Following the main theme of the year, “For This Purpose,” this university’s community is continually inspired to go after their dreams and fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. The wrestling team serves as a great role model for the SEU community — showing that nothing is impossible when God is on your side, and that perseverance, patience and determination are the keys to being successful in your dreams. STORY: ANA LAURA BRACCIALLI PHOTOS: CHARLIE DAWES
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 8
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 9
SPORTS RECAP STORIES: ANA BRACCIALLI PHOTOS: DONNIE SMITH
Southeastern’s men’s soccer team had a purpose for their season. After losing their game against Johnson & Wales University by one point, they consequently hit their turning point and set a goal for the season. Allowing the opposing teams to score only two goals until the end of the regular season, the Fire soccer team won the Sun Conference Championship, which was hosted at home for the first time in the program’s history. Based on their successes, the team went to NAIA National at Cumberland University in Tennessee. The team won the first game in overtime, where freshman Jake VanDerLuit scored the game winning goal. They advanced to West Palm Beach to continue fighting for the national title, but lost 1-0 against Indiana Wesleyan.
INDIVIDUAL STORY Pedro Ivo Dias, a junior majoring in sports management, moved all the way from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to pursue his dream of playing soccer. Dias transferred to SEU during his sophomore year from Mission College in California. Having a great season in 2014 and 2015, the midfielder became the captain of the team and made his team proud when he received the Second Team All-Conference Honors.
The soccer program had several individual awards, including coach Clay being nominated as Coach of the Year among the Conference and Pedro Ivo Dias as Player of the Year also among the Conference. Saving 88 goals, goalkeeper Jorge Navarrete was nominated the National Player of the Week and Freshman Player of the Year.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 10
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY The SEU men’s and women’s cross country teams had their most successful season in the history’s program. Hosting The Sun Conference Championship, the team ended in second place as a whole, although five individuals represented the Fire cross country team in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the National Title. Senior Deion Cossio, ended the race in 209th place with a time of 27:01. Three seconds behind, sophomore Trae Miller finished 217th in the 326 runner field. The women from the team, represented by Megan Fitzgerald, Sydni Ogilvie and Julia Kaster, also showed their power. Fitzgerald, a sophomore, finished in 63rd place with a time of 18:47, followed by Ogilvie, also a sophomore, with a time of 19:28. Only one second behind, Kaster, a freshman, finished 164th in a 321 runner’s race.
INDIVIDUAL STORY Megan Fitzgerald, a sophomore at SEU, beat a school record, running a 5k in 18:19. Due to her progress and hard work, she qualified for the 5k Indoor Track to go to Nationals in Tennessee. Only in her sophomore year, she has achieved a lot of success, being the first one to qualify for Nationals individually and becoming an Indoor Nationals’ qualifier.
Not having seniors on the team wasn’t an excuse for the Southeastern volleyball girls. Last semester, the team had an incredible season, winning the Sun Conference Championship against Warner University — a team they had never beaten before — and allowing them to finish in third place in the regular season.
Uche Kojo, a sophomore majoring in biology, is an example of resilience and determination. At the beginning of her freshman year, the middle blocker suffered a knee injury, rendering her unable to play; however, this didn’t stop her. With a purpose and dream in mind, Kojo recovered in time to be able to play the season, consequently becoming a starter — all in her freshman year. During the 2015-2016 season, she couldn’t have made her team more proud, being nominated number one blocker in the entire Sun Conference.
Due to their success from last season, the volleyball team headed to Georgia to compete for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or NAIA, national title for the first time. Winning only the first set against the 22nd-ranked team from College of Coastal Georgia, the Fire ended their season with a great reputation for Fire Athletics.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 11
spring break mission trips
ICELAND PHOTO: VICTORIA BARDEGA
PERU PHOTO: JOSH DUKE
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 12
THAILAND PHOTO: BECCA COWLING
PUERTO RICO PHOTO: DULCE BLANDON
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 13
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 14
DR. RICKEY COTTON A LIFE IN THE SPIRIT “I want all of my classes to be a learning community of the Spirit,” says DR. RICKEY COTTON, professor of literature and composition at Southeastern University. Dr. Cotton has seen several changes take place over the course of his 29 years with Southeastern, from resident hall expansions to the dramatic rise in enrollment. One aspect that has not changed, however, is the university’s commitment to remaining Christ-centered in all its endeavors. This commitment is not just one the university holds itself, but also one which Dr. Cotton personally holds. Within the classroom, Dr. Cotton strives to integrate faith into course material in an effort to bring students into a deeper relationship with their Savior and to have a “critical mind, but not a critical spirit.” “I think [our students] are an inspiration, an encouragement, a stimulation,” says Dr. Cotton. “It’s exciting to be doing your work in the presence of people who really love the Lord. It provides an encouragement and momentum to continue to grow deeper with God.” Currently a professor in the department of English and Foreign Languages, Dr. Cotton has also served as the former associate director for the Center for Faith and Higher Learning, in which he co-authored “College in the Spirit: Christian Higher Education as a Calling” with Dr. Paul Corrigan for Southeastern’s Christ, Culture and the
University course. In addition, Dr. Cotton has also served as chair of both the department of English and Foreign Languages and of the General Education Task Force, which implemented the vision of the integrating faith courses for each major at SEU. Throughout his time at Southeastern, Dr. Cotton has strove to not only integrate learning in the Spirit within the classroom, but also in everyday encounters with students, from grabbing coffee at Portîco to taking an afternoon stroll around campus. “I love to meet with students for dialogue or prayer,” says Dr. Cotton. These encounters are more than simple dialogue, as Dr. Cotton embraces these opportunities to engage in what he calls “spiritual friendship” with SEU students and faculty. Amidst meeting with students and teaching classes, Dr. Cotton continues to create quiet time to enter into solitude with God and be still in His presence. “I think God is calling us to include silence as a part of our prayer life,” says Dr. Cotton. “Silence is a kind of fasting from stimulation. To just be, to just be present; to just be open, communing with God, in simplicity — by faith. We want to practice the full gospel, and the full Gospel includes just being with the Lord in humble surrender.” STORY: DEVIN YASI
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 15
LOCAL ARTISTS SPOTLIGHT THE UP AND COMING OF SPRING 2016
PHOTOS: JORDAN RANDALL STORY: DONNIE EDWARDS
isaiah gripper “I just understand life through music,” says sophomore Isaiah Gripper. Some say first impressions are always right; while others believe that first impressions never give the real picture of a person. Regardless, we all love when we have a great first impression of someone, and these impressions turn out to be every bit as true as first hoped. First impression of Isaiah Gripper? Joy and a consistent passion for art and for people. The best part is that these first impressions hold true. The drive behind his music is the mission statement of his life: to give people hope and to remind them that they are not alone. “I want people to be free in their gifts,” says Gripper. “They don’t have to be bound by anything in the past; they don’t have to hold to what people say about them or be trapped by their past. They can be free, [and] I just want to set people free.” At 19 years old, Gripper has realized something that takes many of us much longer to understand: The most important priority in anything we do is the people we do it for. Christ showed us that community and relationships are to be valued. Gripper speaks to that through his new album, “Pursuit of Madness,” released Feb. 19, 2016. “I feel like I’m right where I need to be to communicate to people what God has done in my life and to share the hope I have found,” says Gripper. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else.” Gripper’s music can be found on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 16
PHOTO: DAVID DEPEREZ
day bit David DePerez, who creates music under the name, “Day Bit,” is an 18-yearold freshman who hails from Long Island, New York. His creative, feel-good brand of electronic music is a natural product of his laid-back and upbeat personality. “I started out just doing covers and making my own versions of songs — even parts of songs,” says DePerez. “Honestly, I just posted stuff to my SoundCloud to have fun with my friends.” “The name just came from my friends saying my name, ‘David,’ in a funny way. Somehow, it just turned into them calling me ‘Day Bit,’” says DePerez. “Then, later on, I was putting up my first complete song on SoundCloud and I needed to write something in the blank for artist name. I thought, ‘Day Bit!’ I didn’t like it at first, but it’s definitely grown on me.” For musicians, music is a tool. Some music is for an emotional release; some is for a personal or social message. Some is to emotionally relate with others — to have someone who understands where we are in life. The goal across all art is that others might see and feel what the artist does. “I always thought I needed all this expensive gear to make good music, [and] I’ve realized that’s just not true,” says DePerez. “The quality of what you’re making is separate; it’s about how people relate to it — not how expensive your programs or microphones are. It’s about people. I just want people to hear it; hopefully, they can relate to it, and it will have a real meaning for them. Maybe it’ll help them.” David DePerez’s music can be found on SoundCloud.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 17
PHOTOS: DONNIE EDWARDS
mannrs Mannrs is an indie-rock group inspired by bands such as Passion Pit, Foster the People and The 1975. Southeastern University juniors, Richard Griggs and Chas Willix, lead the group as the frontmen of the band. “We just have fun and make music that we like to hear,” says guitarist and vocalist Griggs. “Sometimes, we’ll just be hanging out; I’ll say someone’s name or something, and Chas will start singing about whatever I just said. We might just make stuff up. Somehow what we do turns into songs that we like to listen to; we think that if we like it, maybe others will too. Often, we’ll look back over stuff we sing and hear our lyrics and think, ‘Man! So, that’s what we’re singing about!’ It’s pretty spontaneous a lot of the time.” Originating in contemporary ensemble class at SEU, Mannrs is a compilation of the music from this class and the music the band members’ were writing individually. “We’ve had band members come and go,” says vocalist and guitarist Willix, who also plays keys and synth. “It’s mainly been friends who were down to play, just helping us out and having fun. You’ve just got to drop everything and have fun sometimes, you know?” “We just want to make people feel good and to remember not to take things so seriously all the time,” says Griggs. “Yeah, a lot of people spend a lot of time taking their art too seriously,” says Willix. “Just have fun with it, and do whatever you do from the heart. It’ll work out. It’ll be good.”
Bright, upbeat and honest — the music Griggs and Willix make is sure to not disappoint. Their music can be found on SoundCloud. SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 18
PHOTO: EVAN DELL PHOTOGRAPHY
middle child The musicians behind the aggressive musicality of Lakeland’s local hardcore act, Middle Child, hold a passion for pushing the boundaries of creativity in music and live performance. “Josh approached me when I was first at Southeastern; after noticing that I played the drums, [he] asked me if I wanted to play in a band,” says junior Daniel Benefield. “We just started playing music we liked and we thought our friends could get into [it]. We’ve just been doing that ever since then.” Middle Child has a 3-track studio release and is in the middle of recording a follow-up record set to be released sometime in April this year. “We don’t know what we want to do with music; we don’t know what image or genre we fit into,” says Benefield. “Josh, our frontman, and I are both middle children in our families. We used to be kind of like our band, in a way of not really fitting in or knowing really what we want to do. We just wrote what we wanted to write and played where we wanted to play. It’s Middle Child.” Middle Child frontman, senior Joshua Bowlby, leads the hardcore group with his vocals and unbound energy that draws the crowd into their shows. “I think some things just deserve to be screamed,” says Bowlby. “When you feel alone or unaccepted, you just kind of wish that someone would just shout, ‘I accept you’ or ‘I love you,’ you know? Not all of life is pretty or nice to listen to; some things are just aggressive or deserve to be screamed about. We want to address those things and let people know that they’re not weird for feeling the way they do, but we do want to meet those issues head on.” Middle Child’s music can be found on Bandcamp and YouTube. 19
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 19
LOCAL ARTIST MIXTAPE // a collection of songs by those who know music best // 20
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 20
JAPANESE HOUSE Cool Blue Day Bit
KODA The Warmth Isaiah Gripper
ADVENT Pack of Fools Middle Child
SON LUX Easy Mannrs
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB Itâ€™s Alright Now Mannrs
XXYYXX Good Enough Day Bit
WILLOW 9 Isaiah Gripper
EVERY TIME I DIE Thirst Middle Child
TOUCHE AMORE ~ Middle Child
FOSTER THE PEOPLE Houdini Mannrs
PORTER ROBINSON Sad Machine Day Bit
THE JAPANESE HOUSE Teeth Isaiah Gripper
COMPILED BY: DONNIE EDWARDS PHOTO BY: JORDAN RANDALL
FOLLOW US ON SPOTIFY @SEU_MAGAZINE
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 21
LOCAL HANGS + central florida + STORY: VICTORIA BARDEGA PHOTOS: VICTORIA BARDEGA / RAIZA PEREZ
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 22
CRUMB + GET IT + lakeland, fl +
Lakeland offers more than just low-key, offsite environments with crystal-bright lakes and charming brick alleyways. When the weekends arrive, many locals have a variety of adventures awaiting as they ask the infamous question: What do you want to do today? Our city is a prime location for Central Florida’s creative avenues and picturesque corners. From the area’s community-driven events, to its mouth-watering eateries, natives are welcome to escape from the books for a while to make memories, quenching time and delicious calories for what their worth.
After making its spring debut, Crumb & Get It has quickly become a Lakelander’s favorite spot for hand-crafted cupcakes and aromatic, fresh cookies. Along with other unique sweet treats, this dessert shop features a lovely atmosphere for newcomers to experience, with brightly colored décor and authentically sweet staff. Their delicious menu also offers a variety of velvety ice creams for those hot, summer days and toasty cinnamon rolls for those once-in-a-blue-moon, chilled nights. Cakes, cookies and other desserts can be ordered customary for special occasions upon request as well. Be prepared for a whole lot of childhood nostalgia as you’re served a glass of silky milk with your scrumptious order.
LOCATION: 2510 S Florida Avenue Lakeland, FL 33803
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 23
THE POOR PORKER + lakeland, fl +
Otherwise known as 801 East Main Street, The Poor Porker opens Thursday to Sunday, offering locals a taste of nitro cold-brewed coffee and fresh, sugar-powdered beignets. After gaining high demand at the local farmers market, they continued to carry out their vision of building community at their new location, through their brand and delicious treats. Weekly, they feature a tray of various beignets choices like the Poor Porker, topped with hickory bacon bits and bourbon maple syrup; the Brown Butter Caramel, drizzled with homemade caramel and topped with fresh sea salt; and the Traditional, immersed in nothing but sweet confectionary sugar. With the bohemian, rustic dĂŠcor and charming walls, The Poor Porker continues to be a creative venue which natives hold dear. LOCATION: 801 E Main Street Lakeland, FL 33801
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 24
CHOCOLATE PI + tampa, fl +
Chocolate Pi may be considered a hole-in-the-wall of the grand Epicurean Hotel; however, their deliciously hand-crafted treats prove the shop to be a luxury of its own. This favorite spot is a modernly rustic dream with checkered floors, ceiling Edisonbulbs and wooden furniture. On display are rows of smooth ice cream selections, prim macaroons, oozing chocolates and fluffy cakes. With flavors such as Lovely Lavender and Succulent Citrus, locals fall in love with this vintage confectioneryâ€™s originality in menu selection. Chocolate Pi also sells custom stationery, handcrafted candles and tote bags, that make for a perfect takeaway. The staff is always pleasant and will completely understand if you suddenly feel the urge to order everything off the menu. LOCATION: 1205 S Howard Avenue Tampa, FL 33606
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 25
PHOTO: BRAN SANTOS
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 26
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 27
BETHANY HALL RD ANNA MARIE SMITH RA CORI CARPENTER
PARKSIDE RD JARED PARKS
DREAM RIGHT, LIVE RIGHT RD’S AND RA’S GUIDING STUDENTS TOWARD THEIR DREAMS Students are constantly in pursuit of their dreams here at Southeastern University. They can become one step closer by what they study, but they are also influenced more by those around them most often — their resident directors (RD) and resident assistants (RA). Not only are these individuals chasing their dreams within their positions, but these RD’s and RA’s are also guiding the students of their halls and encouraging them to see their potential and chase their dreams.
BAUER HALL RD JONATHAN DEMEO RA LEVI LALL
The Southeastern Magazine had the opportunity to sit down and get to know the leaders who consistently pour into the lives of Southeastern’s students, both within and outside of their halls. STORY: COURTNEY FLOYD
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 28
Q: WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST INTERESTING EXPERIENCE BEING IN RESIDENCE LIFE (RES LIFE)? LALL: During the first week of school, around 2 a.m., a student knocked on my door, visibly shaken. He asked me to go to his room and check something out. He brought me into his room and turned the lights off. Above his mirror, in a light fluorescent green color, was the word "DIE" — only visible at night when the lights were turned off. Because of that, I let him sleep in my room. My team later found out the word had been painted as a prank from the year before. DOVALE: When you work under Josh Duke, it’s always an interesting experience. I mean, where else on campus does your boss hang some ENOs, light a fire and spear-throw a marshmallow skewer to protect the fam? PARKS: My first year in Res Life, I had to remind a student that he couldn’t have a pet snake. When I arrived to the room, his snake had escaped in the room, and his box of mice, used for food, was spilled on the floor. DUKE: Telling students not to pet the raccoons at Parkside. Q: HOW HAS BEING A PART OF RES LIFE ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE YOUR DREAMS? ENDERS: Being an RA teaches you a lot about perseverance and patience. Those are two key factors that play into successfully reaching your dreams. BLOOMQUIST: A year into my position as a resident director, I was looking back at a journal entry I wrote as a sophomore in college. The entry was about how that night I felt the Lord speaking to me saying that, at some point, I would be mentoring women in their college years for a season of my life. As I read it, it brought me to tears because that is exactly what I have had the privilege of doing for the past four years. I am so grateful to disciple and mentor the students at Southeastern. It not only has been beautiful to see the lives I have been able to impact, but [also] the way in which they have impacted me. TURNER: My dream in, some way, is to always have the opportunity to pastor people; and, in doing so, I continue to develop and learn how to pastor and lead people more effectively. SMITH: My dream is to help young adults/students discover what they are called to do, then help them take steps daily to achieve it. I love seeing other people’s dreams become a reality. Being a part of
Res Life allows me to be involved in students’ lives, where I can help fuel transformation and growth. I have the blessing to encourage students to never stop seeking the Lord, motivate them to work hard and to be able to celebrate when they get one step closer to their dreams. Q: IF YOUR TEAM WAS A TELEVISION SHOW, WHICH SHOW WOULD THEY BE? WHY? LALL: The Bauer team would definitely be "Naked and Afraid." Res Life is like being thrown on a desert Island with only a limited amount of resources and knowledge, having no idea what kind of experiences you’ll be thrown into. Sometimes we fight, other times we’re exhausted, and our weaknesses are sometimes brought to light; but, we are always resourceful and work together as a team to get the job done. PARKS: If we were a TV show, we would be "Saved by the Bell." Our team is standing on the edge of tomorrow, today… DOVALE: “The Office" for sure! Josh Duke, the free bird, obviously blows Michael Scott out of the water, and we are still waiting for a Jim and Pam to come about. I think we all have our own personalities and quirks that we bring to the table, as well as our strengths and talents. Our team really knows how to have fun, but also get the job done; work hard, play harder. CASON: The first show that comes to mind is "The A-Team." Destino has operated this year with the slogan "No Man Left Behind." "The A-Team" is always getting things done, solving problems and making the world (in our context, SEU) a better place. Q: WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING IN RES LIFE? THE MOST REWARDING? BLOOMQUIST: The fact that we are on call 24/7, which means we are constantly on a stage and being watched. I always say that this is the moment when all our weaknesses float to the surface; they are visible and extremely difficult to ignore. The beauty of this is that dealing with your weaknesses in normal life takes a lot longer; but, as an RD or an RA, you are able to confront them head on. This allows you to grow and develop so quickly as a leader. I would say this is the most challenging and most rewarding part of being in Res Life. TURNER: [The most rewarding has been] being able to have a front row view of the students’ growth in their relationship with Jesus and in leadership.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 29
DEMEO: The aspect of always being on duty. Even when you are "off," at any point something could happen that you are needed to help intervene with. Finding pockets of daily rest is very important. But, I enjoy getting to be involved in the lives of students during a time in their life where they are being shaped and formed into the person they will become for many years. College is such a critical part of their journey, and we get to walk alongside them. A pinnacle moment for me was having the privilege to baptize some of our SEU students at Conference; I was absolutely humbled and honored to be a part of such an incredible moment. CARPENTER: Making time to fill myself back up. If I am not spending intentional time with the Lord, I will have nothing to give. I can tell when I am starting to get to that point, and that tells me that my priorities are mixed up; I know what I have to do. The most rewarding part has been seeing my girls grow; hands down, it’s the most beautiful thing. Q: HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR STUDENTS IN REACHING THEIR DREAMS? SMITH: I like meeting students exactly where they are. Come be honest with me, tell me that life is really hard, you don’t know what major to have and that you’re failing geometry. The body of Christ isn’t about perfect people living perfect lives together; it’s about being in a community of people who love you and will walk with you through the tough times. I’d like to think I’m a person who can make people feel safe and at home, while motivating them to be honest with themselves about where they need help and where they can grow. DEMEO: I try to live by example and not just by theory. I want students to see me as a person chasing after my dreams and ambitions, and lead them through the joy and satisfaction I find throughout the journey. I also try to join them and encourage them during conversation and various interactions. A big part of our job is to listen, and I try to make space for that throughout the week. ENDERS: The best way that I know how to help someone in reaching their dream is to be their biggest fan. Cheering them on every step of the way, encouraging them when something doesn’t work out and really just letting them know that I believe in them and that I’m praying for them. CASON: Listening to their dreams and helping them make a plan on how to get there. From practical things, like encouraging them to go to class (It’s amazing how many people don’t), connecting them with the right professors/leaders on campus that are in the vocations that the students hopes to pursue, or just being a friend. The last thing might be simple, but it’s extremely important. A true friend calls out the best in you, but that same person also calls out your weaknesses as well. Many guys our age just need accountability and someone to depend on. Many times, an RA becomes that person that students can rely on to be consistently present during their journey through college. DUKE: Students need practical ways to get where they feel God is calling them. I try to create simple and easy wins inside of their passions. It is important to set students up for success and allow their experiences to bring clarity.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 30
ESPERANZA HALL RD KARA BLOOMQUIST
DESTINO HALL RD CALIB TURNER RA BLAKE CASON
SVB RD JOSH DUKE RA TIFFANY DOVALE
AVENTURA HALL RD MARISSA SPENCER (SWIECH) RA KELLY ENDERS
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 31
INTO THE DEEP EXPLORING THE DEPTHS OF SEU’S SCUBA CLASS
The light of the sun, glimmering dimly through the surface of this liquid world, gives warm light to the frontier around you. Gallons of water, measuring in the thousands, separate you from the world of air and gravity; and, though you should be afraid, you can’t bring yourself to it. You aren’t afraid, because less than 50 feet from where you are floating, a school of manta rays pass, stilling you into a calm and silent awe. An experience full of wonder and awe among the sea is what Mike Alderman lives for and promises to students who invest their time in SEU’s new scuba diving class. “It all started with a dream of my daughter’s,” says Alderman. “Many years ago, when I asked her what she wanted to do for her 16th birthday, she told me that she wanted to learn to scuba dive. She wanted to; I didn’t, but I loved her enough that I wanted to help her achieve her goal — her dream.” After falling in love with diving in 2003, Alderman went on to become a certified scuba instructor in order to help others fulfill their dreams. Last year, when he heard a few students were interested in starting a scuba program, Alderman was excited to put his certification to use, helping to build the foundations of the course at Southeastern.
Though the class has only been offered for two semesters so far, Alderman looks brightly toward the future, even detailing the possibility of eventually teaming up with the science department to embark on research and conservation dives. Alderman assures prospective students that scuba class is “no swim in the kiddy pool.” One of the first struggles that students must overcome is learning how to breathe comfortably while under water. “We are taught from an early age when you’re under the water, you don’t breathe; you hold your breath,” says Alderman. Obstacles, such as breathing, make the scuba diving course worthwhile. Students learn and relearn all they thought they knew about being in the water, finding it harder than expected and coming out stronger on the other end — a pattern we can apply to more areas of our lives than just scuba diving. The course promises not only scuba instruction, but also many other life skills that will shape students into individual and valuable members of society. STORY: KAYLIN GLASS PHOTOS: MIKE ALDERMAN
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 32
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 33
INTO THE WILDERNESS OUTDOOR LEADERSHIP SEMESTER
Imagine waking up to the vibrant sound of nature. The anticipation of great adventures lying ahead. The thrill of water rushing nearby. Persistence in spite of the deficiency of strength. Exhilaration of a mountain hike. The jaw-dropping views beneath in the valley. The aspiration of the goal. The inclination to finish. These are among the 90-day journey for those desiring to travel and explore wilderness survival.
Associate Professor of Business and Leadership Dr. Ric Rohm oversees and coordinates the unique program of the wilderness semester.
“IT’S NOT JUST A BUNCH OF COOL OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES,” SAYS ROHM. “IT’S ABOUT HOW WE PERSEVERE IN OUTDOOR ADVENTURES, LEARN IMPORTANT SKILLS AND LIVE IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.”
Southeastern University partners with Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters to offer a semester in Outdoor Leadership and Discipleship. The 16-week wilderness adventure takes place in five different locations with the team traveling in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Honduras. While away from SEU, students are able to receive 15 credits as part of the Outdoor Leadership and Discipleship minor. The capstone course, Outdoor Leadership as a Profession, is taken at SEU upon completion of the semester.
Immersing in experiential learning, students spend two weeks of wilderness backpacking and another two weeks of caving and acquiring primitive survival skills. There is also a two-week rock climbing section followed by two days of single track trail mountain biking.
Designed to prepare students for careers in outdoor leadership, Christian ministry and experiential learning, the minor helps students grow spiritually through adventure in God’s creation and become better leaders, followers, and team members.
Whitewater rafting is also trained with techniques of steering the raft, avoiding hazard, reading the water and practicing rapid navigation. In addition to all of these courses, students gain outdoor industry certifications
When on the 12-day expedition in the Everglades National Park area, students are challenged to implement all of their acquired skills in sea kayaking, navigating on the water, reading tide charts and paddling a kayak.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 34
in Swiftwater Rescue, Wilderness First Responder and Leave No Trace environmental stewardship. With a mission statement of pointing young adults toward Jesus Christ, using the tool of wilderness training and the vehicle of relational discipleship, students learn to flourish through practical ways of mentoring, discipleship, evangelism and mission’s work on the eight-day trip to Honduras. The discipleship aspect entails small group sessions, mentoring, student led teaching, book reviews and Bible study. “Students are stretched and grow personally through evangelizing and starting conversations with people they have never met,” says Rohm. “Personal growth is done in a whole lot of ways — spiritual, mental and physical. It’s getting over fears, whether it’s fear of heights, caves or water; it’s about learning how to live in community and work as a team.” During this program, students are challenged in every way, adapting to live in the wilderness and developing a deeper relationship with Christ. For someone yearning to work in the camp or outdoor industry, youth ministry or even the corporate training field with outdoor team building, these courses, along with the three industry certifications, are tremendously beneficial. The great outdoor experience leaves students with a multitude of lifelong memories and proficient skills. STORY: JESSICA KURBATOV
PHOTOS: SNOWBIRD WILDERNESS OUTFITTERS 35
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 35
ILLUSTRATION: STEPHEN LESLIE
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 36
A SPACE TO DREAM AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SEU ART GALLERY Dreams come in many forms. They spur ideas and spark creativity. The construction of Southeastern University’s new Live/Learn Facility has brought many dreams to fruition. For the College of Arts & Media, what was once a dream is now becoming a reality. Art students are familiar with the space located in upstairs Bolin for exhibiting their art. Students also have the opportunity to participate in art receptions put on by the College of Arts & Media throughout the semester, giving them concrete experience in their field. Desiring to build upon the foundation of these art receptions, the College of Arts & Media students will now have the opportunity to showcase their art in a fullyfunctioning, professional art gallery within the new Live/Learn Facility. “Musicians need a concert hall, basketball players need a gymnasium, football players need a field and artists need a gallery,” says Dr. Craig Collins, dean of the College of Arts & Media. “Students will not only exhibit their finest creative works in the gallery but will study all aspects related to gallery management.” The 602-square-foot space, which aesthetically captures the essence of early industrial 20th Century, will feature 2D and 3D art. The space, which will be completed in August, will be open to students in visual arts courses and local professional artists.
“HAVING A SPACE ON CAMPUS THAT IS JUST FOR ART CONVEYS THAT THE UNIVERSITY REALLY IS INVESTED IN VISUAL ART AND BELIEVES IN IT,” SAYS JON SEALS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF VISUAL ART. “IT’S A PLACE FOR STUDENTS TO SHOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.” With the initial dream of having a space to display student work on a professional level now becoming a reality, the College of Arts & Media continues to dream for the future of the gallery. “Art invites us to look introspectively at ourselves and our surroundings,” says Dr. Collins. “Art, whether conceptual or representational, often reflects the world and its associated events or the artist’s experiences within the world. My hope is that the gallery and exhibited works will foster a comfortable environment where art and deep reflection intersect.” STORY: DEVIN YASI
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 37
+ SUBMISSIONS + BLOGGERS ON DREAMS
PHOTO: BRAN SANTOS 38
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 38
JUSTIN DRURY // SENIOR UNSHAKABLESECURITY.WORDPRESS.COM I have probably rewritten this entry at least 10 times now. I have obsessed over every word choice, every thought and every failed attempt to communicate what is within me, which is trying so desperately to fight its way from my heart to the medium in which you are now reading. See, that’s both the beauty and the issue in writing and dreaming. If we’re not careful, we can get caught up obsessing over the perfection, of which we so desire to come to fruition, and we lose touch with the reality that what matters most is the heart behind it all. As I am nearing the end of everything that I’ve ever known in my collegiate career here at Southeastern, I am forced to come face-to-face with the dreams I have chased over the last four years. Titles, status, approval from others — it has been a continuous search for a dream that will bring some kind of fulfilment in its hands. Ultimately, these things have led to tremendous growth in my life over the last four years; I don’t regret chasing them. But, if someone along the way had just told me there was a better way, how many more dreams could have been birthed and cultivated along the way? I love the culture of growth and development at our university. The idea of staff walking alongside our students and pointing out areas of talent and ability that may have been unseen for years before is one of the most phenomenal things I have ever been given the privilege to reap the benefits of. But, if we’re not careful, as young developing minds, we can begin to buy into this idea that we need to have something presentable in order to have value — an idea that is not put in place, nor is it believed by our leaders. This thought begins to tell us that we have to market ourselves to anyone around us that could potentially
advance us one day in our future. It also tells us that we need to work like a slave, doing every single job that is presented to us with the hope and motive of our leaders finally affirming us or giving us the recognition that we deserve. This thought also tries to manipulate us into hiding our failures, weaknesses and struggles, out of the fear that they will devalue the person that we are. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As I started this semester, looking back at all that I have chased here, I can see all of those things previously stated. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is something very valuable in hard work and good favor with leaders above you; but, if your entire motivation is to get noticed by a leader, then what? Once they notice you, what happens? It’s a never-ending cycle of searching for affirmation that will only be temporarily satisfied, all because a leader can speak a few words. It can shape you for a moment; but when you allow your time to be spent in the affirmation of God and the words that He can speak, that can and will change your life forever. This semester, I traded my old, worn-out, broken idea of dreams in for a new dream. In one moment everything changed — my own self-marketing thrown out the window, all of my hard work placed on pause and the image of perfection completely shattered. Looking into the eyes of my leader, I came face-toface with the fact that I was not okay for the first time. In that moment, we began this journey of redefining my vision and the dreams I allowed to guide me. I believe that every dream begins with a foundation. It’s not the thesis of the dream, the tweetable quote or the movement that ensues alongside it, but I believe that the foundation of the dream is actually the dreamer.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 39
CORINA SCHLEGEL // SENIOR TOBELOVEDBLOG.COM
old; and, although the initial dream has become a reality, our To Be Loved Blog team challenges each other to keep dreaming as the doors continue to be opened.
A dream that keeps dreaming.
To learn more about To Be Loved Blog, check out our page and find us on social media.
I love to daydream. When I’m not daydreaming, I’m doodling or making lists about all of the crazy, farfetched, seemingly impossible dreams that are on my heart. This year, I was challenged by Dr. Kent Ingle to dream. Not only was this year full of dreaming about my future in missions and my heart for the Amazon Jungle — where I will be moving in six short months — but, a new dream arose in my heart. On Jan. 1, I launched a blog with a few friends of mine. This dream spurred in my heart only two weeks before the launch. I got a team of incredible girls together; we prayed, we casted vision and we poured our hearts out through blog posting. To Be Loved Blog is a community and a platform for people who want to share their hearts about what it really looks like to live a life following Jesus. We share the beautiful, and the not so beautiful. We talk about the waiting seasons and the fruitful ones, and we are open about our imperfections and our weaknesses. We encourage our community to dream big and be vulnerable. Currently we are a little over three months
AARON ROSS // INSTRUCTOR AND COORDINATOR FOR CCMR ECCLESIAM.COM/BLOG We have grown up in a society that has told us we can be anything, we can do anything and we can make something of ourselves with enough hard work and creativity. Coffee-fueled dreaming makes up a good portion of college life. “What do I want to do; who do I want to be?” Dreams are a curious thing. They can encompass everything from what we want in our personal lives to the dreams that we have for other people. Dreams can motivate us, get us out of bed in the morning, push us towards the life we want to see for ourselves or help mold us into who we want to become. But, dreams can also be devastating, disappointing and even lead us away from the life God wants for us. How we understand and shape those dreams in our lives is instrumental to living
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 40
a fulfilling life that brings us into perfect relationality with God and with others. I think there are two implications with dreams that we have to be mindful of when we try to understand them. First, I have heard many people say, “God gave me the dream to (insert ideas of non-profits, relationships, jobs, etc. here).” I, by no means, want to dissuade anyone from their God-given dream; however, often the dream we think God gave us is the dream that we actually gave ourselves. Even worse, we come up with a dream ourselves and say, “God gave me this dream!” I remember the first time I heard John Mark and Sarah McMillan’s song, “King of My Heart.” It got to the point in the song where John begins singing to God, “You’re never going to let me down.” Without hesitation, I began to think of all of the dreams I have had in my life that did not come to pass. I thought of where I used to want to be in life, compared to where I am now. I remember first thinking that, or so I thought, there had been plenty of times God let me down. It was only a moment later that I realized that all the times that I thought God let me down were all the times that the dream I had for my life was not the dream that God had for me. Very often, I confused my desires and my dreams with what I believed God had for me. When our dreams do not line up with what God has for us, we will always be let down. The dreams we give ourselves may even come to pass; but, if those dreams are not what God has for us, they will never be fulfilling.
Second, we can be so afraid of following a dream not given by God, or so concerned that we find that one magical dream that we think God has for us, that we stop dreaming altogether. Yet, this fear of not following the right dream or finding that one specific dream (if there is even such a thing, which I doubt) is a fear that comes from failing to be in a community centered on God. People were created to be in community. In Genesis 2, we read that out of everything God created and called good, there was one thing He deemed as not good. “God said, ‘It’s not good for the man to be alone; I’ll make him a helper, a companion.’” We, as people, were not created to be alone. Being a part of a community is being a part of a group that can help us discern between the dreams that God gives and the dreams that we create for ourselves. When we remove ourselves from our community, we remove ourselves from the very people God gave us to help determine where our dreams came from. Community not only helps us understand where our dreams have come from, but community is vital in helping us complete and fulfill our God-given dreams. Without community, we are cut off from what God has given us to dream big dreams that we could never accomplish on our own. We are all called to dream, just like we are all called to be in community. Dream big, dream often and prayerfully discern with your community which dreams are Godgiven and which dreams are self-produced.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 41
DR. MCNABB // ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH CAMERONHUNTMCNABB.COM Because I’m an English professor, I like to think about things in terms of language. When it comes to thinking about dreams, I think of how language helps us express dreams and their relationship with reality. Many languages have a mode called the subjunctive, which is used to talk about things that are not necessarily real or have not yet become real, as opposed to a mode called the indicative, which is used to talk about things that are real or already exist. In English, we tend to use the subjunctive for hypothetical or conditional situations, like “What if...” and “If this, then what?” To me, dreaming is about thinking in the subjunctive; in other words, thinking about what isn’t currently real (a goal, a building, a company, etc.) and asking myself “What if...?” and “If that, then what?” The first of these questions fosters the dream itself, but the second gives it a sense of purpose and vision. One important dream that SEU has helped me realize has to do with encouraging undergraduate research. When I was an undergraduate myself, research was what interested me the most, but there were very few opportunities to engage in it in meaningful ways that extended beyond the classroom. I dreamed of one day writing to real scholars and making real contributions to knowledge in my field. During my first semester at SEU, I asked myself “What if my undergraduate students did this research with me?” Then, I asked, “If they did, then what would that change in the classroom, in me and in them?” What if my undergraduate students did this research with me? And, if they did undergraduate research, what would that change in the classroom, in me and in them? During my time at SEU, I have worked with many students on a variety of projects together. The first involved my entire History of the English Language class, who completed an entry for the Medieval Disability Glossary on the word “lame.” Their work is currently
published in the glossary, with their own names listed as the contributors, and for many of them, this was a dream come true. Two years later, my second History of the English Language class completed similar work, but on the words “palsy” and “paralysis,” and their work is forthcoming in the glossary. In both classes, students demonstrated an extremely high level of engagement and attention to their work, largely because they felt that the research was authentic; it was going to be read by real scholars and add real knowledge to the field of medieval studies. I have also worked one-on-one with some students to produce scholarly articles. Two years ago, an honors student and I collaborated on an article about an extant manuscript of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” The student and I got permission to handle the 400-year-old manuscript in person at the Morgan Library in New York City (another dream come true for both of us!), and we completed our research there before drafting the article together. That article is currently under consideration at Milton Quarterly. This past year, I also worked closely with another Honors student on a chapter I’ve been commissioned to write on medieval drama and disability studies. Not only did this student assist in researching the material needed for the chapter, but she traveled with me to Toronto to a festival of medieval drama; and, together we interviewed the plays’ directors and actors, as well as did field research of the plays’ performances themselves. Now, she has chosen to complete her Honors thesis on a medieval play; and, inspired by the festival in Toronto, she will be staging a production of it on SEU’s campus this spring. The grammatical way of saying “turn a dream into a reality” is “turn the subjunctive into the indicative,” and this is precisely what all dreamers strive to do. I am grateful for the opportunities SEU has provided me in not only asking “What if...” and “If that, then what?” — but now, “What next?”
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 42
ILLUSTRATION: VICTORIA BILSBOROUGH VICTORIABILSBOROUGH.COM
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 43
spring break mission trips
AMSTERDAM PHOTO: CHANTEL MUNSEY
AUSTRIA PHOTO: DYLAN RENFRO
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 44
NORWAY PHOTO: KENDALL BOLAM
PERU PHOTO: JOSH DUKE
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 45
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 46
KINGDOM CULTURE + STORY: ARIN KURTZ PHOTOS: JORDAN RANDALL
For Southeastern University freshman THANG PHAM, dreams are more than just lofty possibilities; they’ve become reality. With a passion to love God and love people, Pham has served the Tampa Bay area through his outreach ministry, Kingdom Culture, for the past four years. Kingdom Culture, an evangelical outreach ministry, focuses on sharing the Gospel, loving people and making connections. Pham, a psychology major and Tampa native, founded Kingdom Culture in 2011 with a dream to “encourage the church to step outside their four walls and share the good news.” Pham and his core team of 20 minister to the Tampa Bay area through homeless ministry and street evangelism. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night, members of Kingdom Culture give back to the community of Tampa Bay by providing food to the homeless. “We feel like if we don’t go out, they won’t have anything to eat,” says Pham. A lover of film, Pham has also created several films, ranging from three-minute clips to a full-scale documentary.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 47
In 2014, Pham traveled across the United States, building relationships with the people of New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and documented the devastation of a major tornado in Oklahoma. Upon returning, he created a 45-minute documentary and held an event, called "City Upside Down," in Ybor City, Florida, where over 700 people experienced Pham’s ministry. Inspired by Scripture, it did not take long for Pham and his team to start the Kingdom Culture movement. “We just did it,” says Pham. “People got encouraged and started to join us.” Today, Kingdom Culture thrives as a movement of people who genuinely love God, love people and desire to see the kingdom of God expanded. “Jesus never taught us to lead people to Christ,” says Pham. “He taught us to bring Christ to people. We all have Christ, [and] I want people to not have the mindset that it’s the pastor’s responsibility to bring people to Christ. If we don’t go, they won’t know.” Pham, however, has not always been so passionate about seeing a generation for Christ. Saved at age 17, Pham was living day-byday and experiencing church, rather than having a relationship with Christ. Beginning with the book of James, he began to read and study his Bible, eventually reading the Bible in a year.
“I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND IT ALL, BUT I STARTED TO SEE THAT PEOPLE WERE DOING THINGS THAT WERE NOTHING LIKE CHURCH" SAYS PHAM. "I LOOKED AT THE BIBLE, AND I’D LOOK AT PEOPLE’S LIVES; WHAT THEY WERE DOING DIDN’T ALIGN WITH THE SCRIPTURES.” He started a Bible study outside his church, called H2O, which grew to 70 members before falling apart. He felt called to move the culture of the Kingdom and give back outside the church. Thus, Kingdom Culture was formed. Part of the Kingdom Culture dream is to see lost souls saved. For Pham, his personal dream includes seeing his family saved. Pham’s vision for the future is to minister to his native culture of Southeast Asia by opening up a coffee shop for evangelism. Pham is inspired by Paul’s letter to the Romans: “I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit — I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,” (Romans 9:2-3, NIV). “When I think of my family, my brothers, my mother, my cousins and grandparents, I am willing to die for them to know Christ,” says Pham. “My hope is to share the love of Christ with someone’s mother or brother — that, in turn, someone will share with my mother and brother.” Pham’s reliance on the Lord and his confidence in the plans and dreams of God encourage him to continue to live fully abandoned for the call God has placed upon his life. “The Kingdom Culture dream is that we may see churches step outside and live a life that is worth Christ dying for — with no fear, who are ambitious and see the cause as worthy,” says Pham. “That’s what I dream — that people may read the Scriptures and believe it.” 48
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 48
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 49
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 50
CONFERENCE STORY: DEVIN YASI PHOTOS: MONICA WINTERS
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 51
On Feb. 8, Southeastern University students, faculty and guests gathered together at First Baptist Church at the Mall for the first day of the university’s fifth annual conference to hear Robert Madu, a pastor at Trinity Church in Texas, speak. The energy within the room is so electrifying you can almost see it coursing through the air. As SEU Worship takes to the stage, the lights drop and across the room, hands lift in surrender and worship. The excitement in the room reaches a paramount as worship comes to a close and becomes quieted as God’s presence fills the auditorium. Michael Mutz, the campus missions pastor, enters the stage and begins to speak about Compassion International, a Christian child sponsorship organization, and encourages students to sponsor a child in need. Excitement fills the room as the first speaker, ROBERT MADU, enters the stage. “How you begin something matters,” says Madu. Hushed silence falls upon the auditorium as everyone leans in to hear the sermon, and Madu begins to speak of the power of God’s Word and how He used it to create the world. “God is the only one that can create something out of nothing,” says Madu. “Whenever God speaks something, it has to come to pass.” 52
Madu begins to speak about the formula God has created for the believer: seasons, days, years. He preaches about how God created the sun, moon and stars to mark these timely aspects of life; each season occurs for a reason, and in each day and year, the reason for the past season will become clear. As the sermon comes to a close, the auditorium fills with applause and cheers as Madu exits the stage and Phil Urdiales, the campus pastor, enters to end the night in prayer. SEU Worship returns as Urdiales prays, and the auditorium is filled once more with the power of God’s presence. TUESDAY, FEB. 9: The morning of Feb. 9, students, faculty and guests returned for the second session of SEU Conference to hear Dino Rizzo, the associate pastor at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, preach. The lobby that leads to the auditorium can hardly hold the number of students and guests that fill it. Music plays from across the room as lines form to enter the auditorium. Students chatter — a few can be heard creating a plan on how to save seats for friends. When the doors open, the aisles flood with excited guests. Some individuals walk; others run to available seats. SEU Worship returns and the excited chatter is quickly transformed into unified praise and worship to the Creator. SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 52
After worship, the crowd is silenced once again as the second speaker, DINO RIZZO, enters the stage. Rizzo begins his message, speaking of how God will make His people to become what He has called them to be, according to His purpose. “God makes you along the way, through stages and phases and different motions that take place in our lives,” says Rizzo. “Are we going to trust God through the stages and the phases of our life?” Pens scratching paper and fingers tapping cell phone screens can be heard in the background, as students eagerly jot down notes. As the sermon continues, Rizzo discusses God’s patience.
“YOU NEVER TRY GOD’S PATIENCE,” SAYS RIZZO. “GOD ALMIGHTY IS A PATIENT GOD. HE IS PATIENT THROUGH THE STAGES AND THE PHASES OF WHAT YOU ARE WORKING THROUGH. HE IS PATIENT WITH YOU THROUGH THE GOOD AND THROUGH THE FAILURES.” As the sermon comes to a close, Urdiales returns to end the morning’s session in prayer; SEU Worship enters once more. The evening of Feb. 9, Southeastern held the third session of Conference and welcomed speaker, Chris Durso, the youth pastor at Misfit NYC, and Andy Mineo, Christian hip-hop artist. 53
The lobby is buzzing again; energy from the morning’s session still lingers in the air. Long lines run from the auditorium’s doors once again and become broken once the doors open. Not a single seat is empty in the auditorium, as ANDY MINEO enters to begin the session. Hyped students and guests sing along with Mineo and jump out of their seats to dance. As the set ends, Mineo yields the stage to SEU Worship as the session transitions back into its usual format. God’s presence overtakes the auditorium, and the voices of His people overcome the music. However, the music does not stop when CHRIS DURSO enters the stage. A lone piano remains as a member of SEU Worship plays classical music. Durso begins preaching about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. The woman has had many past relationships, and Durso breaks down how Jesus handled the situation and pointed to where she has been receiving her water. It is not from Jesus, the Living Water. “What are you drinking?” says Durso. As Durso references one’s water source as what fulfills them, he picks up a clay pot. “You can’t be around Jesus and not be changed by Jesus,” says Durso. SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 53
In one fluid motion, Durso tosses the clay pot over his shoulder and it shatters upon the stage. He repeats the process. “You want [sin] to break before it breaks you,” says Durso. The piano player is joined by the rest of SEU Worship and Urdiales, as Durso exits the stage; and session three of Conference comes to a close. WEDNESDAY, FEB. 10: Early Feb. 10, Southeastern students and guests returned for session four of Conference to hear Dawncheré Wilkerson, lead pastor of VOUS Church in Miami, preach. Worship comes to a close, silence rests upon the room, and DAWNCHERÉ WILKERSON walks across the stage, smiling brightly before the packed auditorium. Wilkerson begins speaking from Exodus 3:1, how God called to Moses, and Moses responded with “Here I am.” “God isn’t looking for you to qualify yourself,” says Wilkerson. “He’s not looking for you to have your degree in your hand until He can use you. He’s not looking for you to have the right bank account or the right background. All He’s looking for is a group of young men and young women who fearlessly say, ‘Here I am.’” Wilkerson continues to speak boldly of the importance of listening to God and spending time with Him. She walks across the stage, mic in hand, and addresses how God has not written anyone off; He has seen everyone’s struggles.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 54
The sermon closes with Wilkerson calling everyone within the room to begin to respond to God with the answer, “Here I am.” Music bubbles from the background and fills the auditorium, as SEU Worship returns to close the session with Urdiales. Hands lift across the room once more. On the night of SEU Conference’s last session, Feb. 10, the Southeastern community and guests gathered together for the final session at First Baptist Church at the Mall. The electrifying energy that was present the first night still lingers in the air. As the session begins, the dance group, RDG, enters the stage and performs their new routine. Darkness blankets the room as the lights drop. SEU Worship enters the stage and music begins to play. Red, yellow, pink and green balloons fall from the ceiling as the light returns and the auditorium is filled with praise as hundreds of voices become one. As the last song ends, the worship team exits, and Michael Mutz returns to the stage to speak on Compassion International. PHIL URDIALES walks onto the stage afterward and overlooks the auditorium. He picks up his Bible and reads from the book of Esther. Urdiales speaks of the importance of preparation and compares the believer to gold being refined in fire. While the gold is in the fire, it is protected by a case, which is Jesus. 55
“Preparation is always for the next season,” says Urdiales. “You are gold to the Kingdom of God. If you are going through fire, you are in a good place.” The sermon continues, and Urdiales highlights the importance of having faith. “I chose to live with the resolve that Jesus is faithful,” says Urdiales. “Your time is right now. There’s always the other side. Something has to die before it lives.” As the message comes to a close, Urdiales leads the auditorium in prayer, and SEU Worship returns once again. Off stage, baptisms begin, as students and guests enter the pool to declare their faith in Jesus Christ. SEU Worship continues to lead the auditorium in song as baptisms finish. Students flood the aisles, and hands lift throughout the room with Conference coming to a close. God moved and worked powerfully through Conference. Over the course of three days, lives were changed not just for those in the Lakeland community, but also for those across the world. Through Compassion International, over 100 children were sponsored and given the care and love they need; and, at the last session, over 50 individuals gave their lives to Christ in declaration through baptisms. The Lord moved in Lakeland, but SEU Conference was just the beginning. SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 55
ILLUSTRATION: GENESIS ROSARIO
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 56
MYSTERY BUS RIDE RECAP Have you ever wondered what makes an adventure so special? It’s the element of mystery — that tiny mix of anxiety and intrigue that makes adventures so worth the trip. If it’s a mystery you seek, then the Mystery Bus Ride is what you’re looking for. “Around 6 or 7 p.m. on a Friday evening, we gather 30 students into Southeastern buses, vans or vehicles and we just drive,” says Commuter Life Coordinator Frankie Cunningham. “They have no idea where we’re going.” The yearly adventure holds many stops for those who choose to go along the journey, and this year was no different. On Feb. 19, students were treated to various adventures, such as a late-night miniature golf excursion
and a scavenger hunt at the Orlando Premium Outlets — where winners received a gift card. “We went ice skating and played something called Broomball, which was fun,” says Assistant Team Leader Emily Carl. Although a large success, the event was not easy to plan, posing many difficulties when finding locations to visit, says both Cunningham and Carl. They needed to find locations that were open from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. or locations that would make special exceptions in their case. This event is a truly unique experience, and one that students should seek to participate in the future. Be sure to catch the Mystery Bus Ride next spring! STORY: CAMERON PICCALO
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 57
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 58
THE DREAM LESS TRAVELED Throughout our lives, many of us tend to ask ourselves questions regarding the future. What does God have in store for me? I think I know what God wants, but what if I am wrong? I have a dream in my heart, but where do I begin? “The dreams and desires God places within us are a way to prime us for what we might face in the future,” says Assistant Professor of Biology Aimee Franklin. “Just like physiological dreams, we do not always remember or see the dreams come to fruition; but, they serve a purpose and ready us for what lies ahead.” Although Franklin had a confusing time deciding what she wanted to major in, she knew in her heart that she loved learning about the human body. “I fell in love with the brain,” says Franklin. “The fact that we still know so little about the brain made each experiment I conducted that much more exciting!” Before learning about an opening position at Southeastern University, Franklin was two weeks away from starting her dream job in Baltimore.
Her heart was set on moving to Maryland, but she listened to God’s calling. “Everything worked out better than we could have imagined,” says Franklin. “My husband and I had no doubt God was leading us to SEU. With each passing semester, it becomes more evident that we are exactly where God wants us.”
AS COLLEGE STUDENTS, WE HAVE NO IDEA WHERE OUR DREAMS WILL TAKE US. DREAMS MIGHT CARRY US DOWN AN UNINTENDED PATH, BUT THEY WERE PLACED IN OUR MINDS FOR AN INTENDED PURPOSE. “If you had asked me as a freshman at SEU where I saw my life in the next 10 to 12 years, I would have never been able to predict this result,” says Franklin. “Now looking back, I realize that God was in control the whole time. Do not put added pressure on yourself by turning every decision and situation into the defining moment. You might end up down a path you never intended; but, that is okay. I am currently on one of those paths, and I am loving every minute of it.” STORY: SHAYLA CHAMBERS-SETZER
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 59
MILESTONES IN THE MAKING
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 60
It is the middle of fall semester. Students have finally grown accustomed to their schedules, waking up early for class and balancing their tedious workloads. Across campus, all is as it should be. However, a buzz of excitement resounds from Bush Chapel. Music majors begin to file out of the building, walking in tandem toward the newly constructed choral rehearsal hall. As they step inside, their jaws drop. New chairs and music stands line the wellconstructed, acoustic walls. Curtains as high as the ceiling are draped across the room, muffling the exclamations of delight from each chorus member as they enter the new building. This is the music facility students at Southeastern have been waiting for. With the university’s constant expansion, various facilities have already been built across campus, beginning with the new choral rehearsal hall. The year 2015 marked a significant milestone; this is the first building in SEU history to be created solely for musical purposes. Although dubbed as “The Choral Building,” this space holds many different purposes. It is where ensembles go to practice, where numerous classes meet and where students find solace in creating their own music. Music majors now have a space in which they can grow in musicianship, maturity and musical technicality. “The most significant change will come in recruiting,” says Dr. Daniel Gordon, professor of choral music education, regarding how the new choral hall will affect the future of SEU. “At Southeastern, once we have full music facilities added to our current culture and environment, recruiting will be affected dramatically.” The choral hall is more than just a music building; it is a symbol of Southeastern University’s future. The more sophisticated the facilities become — paired with the excellent music faculty — the greater influence among future college attendees.
The choral hall couldn’t have been built without the influence of Dr. Craig Collins, dean of the College of Arts & Media. “Dr. Collins has been on the basic design since the very beginning,” says Dr. Gordon. “He’s the one who made sure everything accomplished in the construction of the building was appropriate and helpful for musicians.” Thanks to the hard work and dedication of administrators like Dr. Collins, students now reap the benefits of having a fully-functional music building. With each new innovation, more students’ dreams are being fulfilled. The future of Southeastern’s music program is bright indeed, and students’ aspirations are transforming from dreams deferred into dreams newly discovered. STORY: KENDALL BOLAM PHOTOS: LOREE ROWLAND
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 61
REVOLUTION FILM FESTIVAL 10 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE Southeastern University’s Revolution Film Festival celebrated 10 years of featuring short films from high school and college filmmakers all across the United States. The event started on Friday, Feb. 5, with an all-day seminar led by Pixar Story Supervisor Matthew Luhn. Film screenings took place on Saturday, Feb. 6, along with workshops conducted by Jordan Reddout, writer for “The Muppets,” and Stephen Campbell, director of photography for “The Walking Dead.” The festival concluded with an awards ceremony at the Polk Theatre, announcing the winners of 16 categories. STORY: JESSICA KURBATOV
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 62
PLANET PRODUCED BY ZACK VARNUM
TRIAL AND ERROR 63
The extremely bored siblings, Steven and Gertrude, have spent nine years alone on a chunk of Earth that was stolen by aliens. One day, after a startling introduction, they meet Rick, who invites them to go back to the gas station with him. Steven is hesitant because of the murders that took place there years ago, but Gertrude pleads with her brother because of Rickâ€™s convincing reasons. At first, things are going well, but after the siblings question Rick on where the others are, he chains their feet to a picnic table and informs them of his plan to rebuild society. When they refuse, he threatens to poison them like he did with everyone else. Steven points the gun he brought with him at Rick, and after a few attempts, he shoots Rick in the leg. The siblings carry the chained picnic table with them over to where Rick is lying on the ground to get the key from him to unfasten the chains. Back at the RV, Steven takes out the baseball glove he found on the ground at the gas station and asks his sister if she wants to play catch as the hectic day comes to an end.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 63
THEY CARRY FIRE PRODUCED BY ZACK ANDERSON (AWARDED FOR BEST SCREENPLAY)
OUT OF THE BOX THEATER PRODUCED BY KIRSTI MUTZ
OREO PRODUCED BY JONI BING
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 64
Sitting on the beach, with eyes fixed on the ocean, Dan Wilcox reflects on the past, trying to clear his thoughts. After his son was killed by Sergeant John Martin during a halted robbery, desire for revenge to murder Martin led Wilcox to find the sergeant in the city streets at night. As he called out to the officer, a homeless man behind Wilcox started to yell at no one in particular. Telling his wife to go wait in the car, the sergeant walked over saying that he would take care of the situation. The man continued to yell and eventually pushed the officer to the ground and stabbed him to death. He then looked up at Wilcox, who shot him with the gun that was originally meant for the sergeant. Still sitting on the beach, Wilcox acknowledges that he never thought he was a brave or good man. He was just trying to make sense of everything.
Lakeland Community Theatre was inspired by the talent of Emma Mutz to start the Out of the Box Troupe, a program that involves youth and adults with special needs. Growing up in a home where her sisters were involved in musical theatre and dance, Emma had as much passion as anyone else. With the support of her family and staff at the theater, Emma had the opportunity to find a place for herself in the community by performing with an all-in spirit. Mutz emphasizes the importance of not putting expectations on individuals with intellectual disabilities, and allowing them to dream and have opportunities to create and express themselves. The Mutz family would not be who they are today without Emma. [Since the Revolution Film Festival, Kirsti Mutz has a released the feature-length documentary “People Like Us” originating from this short film. For more information on “People Like Us,” visit peoplelikeusdocumentary.com]
It’s a story about a story. It’s many individuals going through similar occurrences and conflicts. Passionate about being a nation that appreciates color and diversity, Joni Bing was encouraged to put together a documentary with different perspectives on the matter. In the film, four students revealed their daily struggles and notions from being name-called “Oreo,” a term used as a cover-up to sound intelligent, but really describes people of color. Explaining their journey on dealing with social problems, they also discussed how others around them coped with unfair treatment and stereotypes. With the intent of starting a dialogue about the concept of “Oreo,” Bing dreams of binding people together as they ponder and act on creating unity.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 65
P H O T O
B R A N
E S S A Y
S A N T O S X
J O R D A N
R A N D A L L
a reverie is a daydream, or being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts. some call it a lack of concentration; we’d like to think it’s worth something more. the work presented to you is a small collection of photographs we took with the intention to stir a particular feeling, one that might inspire you to dream. we hope that the noise of a busy world never drowns out your reveries.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 66
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 67
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 68
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 69
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 70
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 71
LEADERSHIP FORUM TOP QUOTES DR. KENT INGLE
AUTHOR AND PRESIDENT OF SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY “People’s potential is our mission.”
“AMERICA’S EDUCATOR” AND FOUNDER OF RON CLARK ACADEMY:
“The number one compliment you can give people is to ask them for help. Any negative energy you give affects every aspect of the workplace. When you love one another, you have success.”
WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST AND BEST-SELLING POLITICAL AUTHOR: “History is romantic. Where there are humans — there lies the human heart.”
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS:
“A leader gets up in the morning to remind us of who we are as a people, what we believe in and where we are going as a team. We can’t change the world without defining reality as leaders.”
EMMY AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST AND CO-ANCHOR OF ABC’S NIGHTLINE
“If your dreaming doesn’t include people, you aren’t dreaming big enough. Indifference is a deadly weapon; the reality is that each of us has the capacity to change the world.”
JAMES “JB” BROWN
EMMY AWARD-WINNING HOST OF THE NFL TODAY ON CBS AND SUPER BOWL 50 “Determine how high you are trying to reach; then, you will know the depth that is required to be grown into the foundation that can sustain that height. You may earn your degree, but the learning never stops.”
STORY: VICTORIA BARDEGA PHOTOS: LOREE ROWLAND
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 72
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 73
By: Cameron Piccalo
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 74
CONNECTING ON CAMPUS STORY: SYDNEY MERRITT Southeastern University is a community carefully knit through intention. A common phrase among campus is “doing life together,” which is as much an action and a truth, in addition to a phrase. Relationships are being cultivated, just as much as they’re endeavored, through the staff, student leaders and students seeking community. The unity among the student body and staff exemplifies the heartbeat of the campus: We are a people for each other. Connect Groups are a way this supportive community is manifested. While conversations over coffee dates are sacred, and reading the Bible is a solidified importance, there’s something about the regularity of meeting in small groups with the same people and reading the same portions of Scripture. At the beginning of each semester, students have the opportunity to sign-up online for a Connect Group of their choosing, led by people who want to see students grow and want to be a part of their students’ lives.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 75
Erica Steiner, administrative assistant to the associate vice president for student development, began leading her first Connect Group this semester.
Connect Groups started in 2011 by student nomination, and Darrell Hardt became a Connect Group leader from the beginning.
Throughout her undergrad at Southeastern, Steiner led a group for First Year Experience (FYE) students. She fell in love with the experience of leading FYE groups and was asked to lead a Connect Group. Enthusiastically, she accepted.
His first group began with three members — two of which, Will Mays and Jared Parks, are now staff at Southeastern.
In comparison to FYE groups, leading a Connect Group is different for Steiner due to the close age range between her and the ladies. However, she enjoys this closeness in age, allowing everyone to connect with one another in a group effort. Among her group, Steiner likes the atmosphere to be organic with no systematic plan — just a time to connect, talk about what’s going on in each others’ lives, encourage and be present with one another. Gathering together with a group that normally doesn’t cross her path, Steiner embraces the different places each lady comes from and different places each one is going. She wholeheartedly strives toward the fact that there’s still a way to come together, encourage and inspire one another. Steiner’s favorite part about groups is found in the lifegiving hour set aside to just talk and hang out, allowing the group to see that God is able to call things out in the mundane.
In the first session of every semester, Hardt tells his group, “Here’s the purpose: Everything the school does is developed around academic, social and spiritual development,” and the conversation is geared to focus around those three things. The group is operated through the objective of Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Hardt is determined to cultivate an environment where the men are sharpening each other, in order for them to use this pattern for years down the road: to sharpen and to be sharpened. They meet over breakfast, which adds to the casual environment focused on creating relationships. His group is intentional; conversation about sports is focused around growing close to one another, and prayer over food is a prayer that also asks for opportunity to bring into their paths a person to help. “It’s a journey, and we’re here to help each other,” says Hardt.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 76
Stephen Lehmann and his wife, Belkis, are missionariesin-residence. The Lehmann’s are a part of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, an Assemblies of God organization working to bring ministry to college campuses.
After becoming a group leader the second semester that Connect Groups were offered, Romeika Ferguson wasn’t sure she was up for the task. However, she’s found that joy is now the emotion to point out in leading a Connect Group.
Before arriving at Southeastern, Lehmann was an area director over five Midwestern states, facilitating the planting of ministries at locations, such as the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University. When the Lehmanns arrived at Southeastern, they prayed tremendously about being placed in positions in which to pour into the lives of others, bringing Stephen Lehmann to inquire about leading a Connect Group. Due to his previous experience in ministry, Lehmann desired his group to be one that eagerly seeks discipleship. “We process relationship before task,” says Lehmann. Therefore, “How are you?” is as genuine of a question as it is common. Lehmann seeks to gather around a subject familiar to all among his group and build common ground off that. His favorite parts of Connect Groups are witnessing the moments when the students realize they’re wrestling with common themes and questions, and beginning the journey of knowing they’re in it together, realizing there are people who have gone through the same things before them.
Ferguson puts a lot of prayer into her group. She’s gone through being away from home, and she doesn’t want her girls to not have that one person who is praying for them. “I’ve learned that connecting is intentional,” says Ferguson. Open to meeting beyond the 10 weeks, Ferguson intentionally makes herself available for the ladies who need it or are willing to connect. Her theme this semester is Jeremiah 29:11–12 — focusing on the plans God has for each person and the important prayer among the Scripture. The groups looks at how seeking the expected end works in each of their various and different walks of life. Ferguson focuses on the importance of connecting among diversity, the efforts of finding a common ground and the unexpected similarities and shared experiences among the group.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 77
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 78
TNL RECAP STORY: CAMERON PICCALO Laughter and comedy — these are the stars of Southeastern University’s special night of sketch comedy known by only one name, Thursday Night Live. A night of jokes revolving around all things Southeastern, whether the administration or the community, TNL is set in the model of the highly popular late-night sketch and comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” The night began with the show’s hosts, Justin Drury and Benjamin Carter. As the hosts welcomed everyone to the night’s following festivities, jokes began rolling left and right. With everybody already in tears, the first skit began with a scene students are all familiar with, the presidential debate. With students representing each of the presidential nominees, they took turns answering questions only in ways the nominees would. Following the political spoof, students were treated to a skit in the style of “SNL’s Weekend Update” segment, where two newscasters, students Aaron Mouer and Sean McKinney, bantered about the recent events to occur here at Southeastern. Not only was the night full of skits and scenes among the stage, but students also showcased their humor in pre-recorded videos. Among the pre-recorded scenes was a parody of the “The Tonight Show’s” famous skit “Ew!” As the laughter carried back toward the stage, students saw a skit titled “Bienvenido a Casa,” featuring a daughter returning home and retelling her mother about her first year at Southeastern. The next skit, seemingly one of the biggest hits of the night, showcased two students dressed up and singing popular songs with lyrics adapted to the life of a typical Southeastern student, hitting on many trends and events happening at Southeastern. Closing the night, students saw a series of acts surrounding one of the most beloved social networks, Twitter, in the form of “Mean Tweets,” where various staff took turns reading hilariously mean tweets made about them. The last skit presented us with the late Portîco work night that students are all too familiar with, followed by a dance show by the boys of Southeastern known as “Shake and Bake.” However, this big night, dedicated to the life and community of Southeastern students, isn’t brought to life overnight. “I have watched the team work hard for close to three months in making TNL possible,” says junior Britney Duffy. It goes without saying that this large group of people worked hard, and their hard work and dedication to showcasing the humor of the student body was apparent as their hard work paid off.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 79
+ I N S TA G R A M H A S H TA G S +
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 80
+ I N S TA G R A M H A S H TA G S +
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 81
+ I N S TA G R A M H A S H TA G S +
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 82
+ I N S TA G R A M H A S H TA G S +
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 83
follow us @seuniversity 84
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE - 84