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PSN April

Parent Support Net - April 2016

Dear Westmont Parents,

Once again, the year has zipped by, and we’re preparing for Commencement! What a wonderful year we’ve experienced, full of student energy we’ve grown to love, great events, conversations and blessings. I hope you’ve enjoyed your year.

The campus is buzzing with families visiting during spring break, as you may have done. Anxious students and parents ask lots of questions on our sparkling, beautiful campus, seeking God’s leading in the important decision about college. We want the best for all who visit and hope they choose Westmont. We’ve experienced its transformational impact and feel privileged to work here. Won’t you please join us in praying for God to lead the students and families to our community who can best benefit from a Westmont education?

This newsletter will return in September 2016. We wish you summertime blessings and feel so grateful for your partnership with us.









Teri Bradford Rouse ’77

Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations


The Latest on Campus Life from Daniel Clapp

DannyI write these words on the day before students return from spring break. Classes resume tomorrow, and the campus is slowly coming back to life as students trickle in from some much-deserved time away. Potter’s Clay has deposited tents, coolers and car kits in the student center lounge, and administrators are feeling productive, checking off to-do lists.

But the quiet won’t last for long. With only 39 days until Commencement, the remaining weeks of the year will fly by. Our campus is full of life—our students work hard, but they know how to play as well.

As students settle in to finish portfolios and research papers, the Westmont Activities Council plans to provide the following moments of needed white space to help everyone reach the end of the semester.

  • Two-time Grammy winner Lecrae speaks in chapel and performs a full concert on Friday, April 1, as part of his Higher Learning Tour.
  • Student leadership applications for 2016-2017 are due April 4, with interviews and team selections following.
  • We’re reviewing club applications for 2016-2017 and typically charter about 40 student clubs each year.
  • WAC will host a one-minute film festival on Friday, April 8, for current and admitted students to highlight their video skills with a smart phone.
  • Spring Formal takes place at the Fess Parker Doubletree on Saturday, April 16. We expect about 700 students to attend this annual event.
  • WAC is teaming up again with Alumni and Parent Relations to show a movie on Kerrwood Lawn Saturday, April 30. This year we offer “Inside Out.” Enjoy free popcorn and candy!

As our final event of the year, WAC will host The Drop in the library Wednesday, May 4. In this new, 15-minute, finals-week, study-break tradition, “the beat” is dropped followed by surprise mystery items for all dropped from the library balcony. It’s perfectly chaotic as students enjoy a few minutes to play and grab a donut before heading back to their books.


Have You Heard About Capax Dei?

JoelMeet Joel Patterson, the director of music and worship at Westmont since 2003. You’ve likely heard him and his chapel band in chapel. Joel serves as a liaison between the Campus Pastor’s Office and the Dallas Willard Center and oversees our wonderful Capex Dei small groups. He passionately seeks to disciple students desiring to live a life of worship marked by prayer, community, service and excellence. He describes our Capex Dei student groups on campus in the article below.

Every year, I encounter some graduates who appreciate the depth of the theological education they received at Westmont but feel that something was missing in the development of their prayer life. They have certainly grown in their knowledge about God and the Bible but may have trouble integrating that knowledge into their lifelong devotional habits. How do we encourage already-overworked students to find time to connect with God in ways that equip them for a lifetime of conversation with God?

Enter Capax Dei. Roughly translated as “Capacity for God,” Capax Dei includes a growing network of small groups under the direction of the Campus Pastor’s Office and the Martin Institute for Christianity and Culture and the Dallas Willard Center for Christian Spiritual Formation. These small groups, which range from three students to more than 15, meet on and off campus to explore classic spiritual disciplines such as prayer, lectio divina (divine reading), solitude and silence. These practices create a peaceful space for God to speak in the midst of an otherwise hectic workweek.

“Capax Dei is my favorite time of week,” a second-year student told me recently. “I love the students in my group. For many of us, it’s one of the only times we’re quiet and still in the presence of God.”

An eclectic mix of staff, faculty, local pastors and trusted members of the community lead Capax Dei groups. These volunteers give their time and energy generously to help students grow spiritually. “I love the women in my group,” said a longtime leader. “They have become like daughters to me. Even after graduation, I invite them over to catch up and drink tea.”

About 120-160 students participate in Capax Dei groups each semester. We covet your prayer support as we continue to minister to our dear students. If you’re interested in Capax Dei or live locally and would like to lead a group, please visit the Capax Dei website or contact me at jopatter@westmont.edu.


Westmont’s Intercultural Programs

JasonJason Cha directs Westmont’s Intercultural Programs and oversees initiatives to engage students and the campus in a deeper understanding of multiculturalism, diversity, and global awareness. He describes his important program below and shares a touching article by student Rosangel Rodriguez.

In college you expect to meet people from all walks of life. Intercultural Programs seeks to highlight students’ experience of exploring and engaging across cultures, ethnicities and race.

Many Christian colleges, as well as evangelical churches in the United States, have historically been less racially diverse than secular counterparts and more racially segregated. As a result, we consider it essential to provide services that create space for students to explore and grow in their ethnic identity and to learn how to engage those who are different.

Intercultural Programs (ICP) specifically creates space for students of color to find their voice and understand their racialized experiences growing up and while at Westmont. This awareness affirms our students and helps them navigate the reality of race, ethnicity and culture moving forward in life. We have also found a need to create space for white-identified students to become aware and explore their own racial identity.

Our office oversees seven student-led and student-run Intercultural Organizations. The 10 to 14 student leaders of these organizations serve on the ICP student leadership team. They take a class in the fall that focuses on racial identity and equips them with a framework, vocabulary and tools to discuss culture, ethnicity and race.

Our fall retreat, Connect, helps students meet each other as well as professors and staff members invested in diversity work. During Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in January, we organize a workshop that explores racial identity and honors Dr. King’s legacy.

As cultural and racial diversity continue to increase in our society and world, this work is becoming more central to our call as educators. We’re excited to see Westmont continue to grow in this area as the student body—and the church—become more diverse.

For more information, visit our ICP website. Please read the next article by Rosangel Rodriguez to learn more from a student’s personal story.








Rosangel Rodriguez – Story of Impact through ICP and the Latino Cultural Organization (LCO)

RoseangelAs a student leader in Intercultural Programs, I consider this organization valuable. As a local student who grew up in a large Latino community in Santa Barbara, I started thinking about my ethnic identity more as I adjusted to the shift in demographics I experienced on campus. I wondered what made me feel uncomfortable in this predominantly white institution. At first I was wary of becoming involved in ICP. Unlike most first-year students, I didn’t jump headfirst into every activity and club. But I felt the need to find people I could relate to. I ended up in the Latino Cultural Organization (LCO) and became a dedicated member, although I didn’t explore other intercultural organizations and events.

In my second year, I became more comfortable with the people in ICP, and I joined other organizations. The first Connect retreat took place that fall, and it helped create a community for students of color early in the year. As race-related conversations grew across the nation at this time, I began to want to involve myself in these discussions. ICP gave me the opportunity in events like The Next Step, a workshop during Marin Luther King Jr. weekend, to engage in conversations and help me to think critically about what I and others believed. By the end of my second year, I felt more confident in my identity as Latina and more conscious of others’ identities and experiences.

I’m now a third-year student and co-leader of LCO. I help initiate conversations on race and social justice around campus. I also seek to assist other Latino students in their transition to Westmont by building a welcoming community through LCO and ICP while asking them to think about their own identities. The ICP community consists of students from different backgrounds, giving us the ability to hear varied experiences and to learn from one another. The ICP community has led me to think in different ways and inspired me to interact with the peers I once regarded as unapproachable. ICP helped me become more certain of myself and my place at Westmont, and I hope to help other students achieve this understanding.







Spring Finals Week Survival Kits

FinalsSurprisingly, finals week will soon arrive! Invest $20 and help your son or daughter manage the stress of exams with a Finals Week Survival Kit. The student ministries teams will deliver care packages full of fresh fruits and other therapeutic treats to your student’s room as an encouraging reminder that you’re thinking of them during this busy time. By ordering a care package, you’ll brighten your student’s week and support Westmont student ministries and missions. This spring the proceeds will benefit Potter’s Clay and support community development in Ensenada, Mexico, through medical clinics, vacation Bible school, home construction, sports outreach and other student-led activities.

Order a Final Exam Survival Kit by following the online payment instructions today. Please include a personal message to your student in the space provided and a note will be delivered with the care package on Study Day, Friday, April 29, just before the start of finals.


Orders must be placed by midnight on Wednesday, April 27. The student teams look forward to delivering a survival kit for you.

Finals Week







Westmont Summer Scholars

ScholarsIf you or your friends have children, nieces, nephews, cousins, siblings or friends in their junior or senior year of high school, please let them know about Westmont Summer Scholars. This three-week, residential, summer experience helps students prepare for college. Participants find it to be a tremendously enriching experience. They explore important and interesting subjects in rigorous classes and earn four units of college credit. In addition, they grow close to one another in a supportive community and discover the joy and challenge of integrating their Christian faith with top-level scholarship.

The 2016 program takes place June 20-July 8. Students select one course that satisfies a Westmont General Education requirement. This summer, we offer General Psychology and International Politics. The small class size and seminar-style learning gives students close interaction with professors and peers. They stay in one of our residence halls, eat in the dining commons, and enjoy our great recreational facilities with support from a team of Westmont staff and current students serving as residential and academic mentors. Learn more about Westmont Summer Scholars online.


Did you know?

Did you knowStudents who enroll in International Organizations and Law participate in a simulated United Nations. Political science professor Susan Penksa teaches this class every other spring semester, and the students travel to New York City to attend the Model United Nations event. Sophomore Andrew Olson, who just returned from this enriching opportunity, shares his reflections. You can learn more at the Model United Nations website.

Alarm. Suit. Coffee. Handshake. Speech. Handshake. Typing. Coffee. Typing. Sleep. Repeat.

This rhythm played out in my life and the lives of my fellow delegates at the Model National United Nations (MNUN) Conference in New York. If New York is the city that never sleeps, MNUN New York is the conference that never sleeps. I haven’t seen so many sleep-deprived college students working furiously since the last organic chemistry final.

Bringing together more than 5,000 students, educators and staff for two weeks, MNUN simulates the workings of the United Nations Conferences, including the massive 300-person swarms of the General Assembly (GA) committees and the lively buzzing of specialized committees like United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  Fifteen classmates and I from the International Organizations and Law class taught by Professor Susan Penksa participated in the conference the last week in March. MNUN has obtained official observer status in the UN and achieved an international profile. At the UNESCO committee I attended, more than half of my peers were foreign nationals and spoke English as their second, third or fourth language. I worked on one of my many papers with a Lithuanian, a Canadian, a Russian, a German, a Ugandan and, perhaps most foreign of all to my Californian sensibilities, a Midwesterner.

The conference gave me a sense of the difficulties inherent in multilateral diplomacy. UNESCO focuses heavily on cooperation and only includes 20 nations compared to the 190 delegations in GA1 or other plenary committees. But coordination still remained difficult. Yet my experience also served as a testament to how the international community can come together to make a meaningful impact. After a week’s worth of negotiations, UNESCO Conference B produced a series of recommendations and programs that could make a meaningful impact on the education of vulnerable rural populations (the topic of our conference).

While I returned to class with rings around my eyes deeper than the national debt, I would do it all again given the chance.









Important Links

Commencement Weekend
View this site, read the note from President Beebe and learn all the important details if you have a student graduating

Career Development and Calling
Learn more about services available to help students determine their calling and prepare for a career

Westmont Counseling Center
Find information about counseling services available to your student

Finals Week Survival Kit
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Westmont Summer Scholars
Program for high school juniors and seniors runs from June 20 to July 8

Parents and Families
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Student Life
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Westmont Athletics
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