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Westmont Parent Newsletter

Parent Support Net - February 2015

Dear Parents,

We’ve enjoyed a productive beginning in 2015. Planning events for alumni, parents and students leaves us no time for idleness! But we find the work varied and fun, especially as we get to meet and serve you and some of your students in the midst of it.

Teri Bradford RouseMost recently, we hosted our traditional Day 100 Celebration, an event for seniors marking 100 days until graduation. We invite them to visit our office with the lure of gourmet cupcakes from a popular, local bakery and fun raffle prizes. While here, they receive an attractive and informative calendar of the next 100 days, which details all the specific events, opportunities and requirements to fulfill before graduation. We love hosting your students; they keep us busy and engaged all day. You’ve all taught them well as they overflow with thanksgiving! I trust their gratitude warms your heart as much as it does ours.

I hope to see you at Parents Weekend and Spring Sing!

Blessings,

Teri

Teri Bradford Rouse ’77
Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations

Meet the Alumni & Parent Relations Staff

What’s the Point of Spring Sing and Parents Weekend?

DonnySenior Donny Brubaker’s previous article was so well-received, we’ve asked him to contribute additional thoughts throughout the semester. This month, he shares the value of students participating in Spring Sing and the benefits for parents attending Spring Sing. He also discusses the many activities available for you during the weekend.

First-year parents and all parents, you may soon receive a call from your students (let’s be real, though; it will probably be a text or a tweet) notifying you of their involvement in Spring Sing. Your student will likely be enthused when describing the hours, if not days, committed to a cause you are entirely unfamiliar with. You may hear vain promises about uninterrupted class attendance ... in an effort to comfort you about participation in an event you may worry will shift the focus from academic to extracurricular for an indefinite amount of time. Rest assured, your student will hit the books again come March 22.

“Surely something that requires so much time away from studies offers a gratifying prize that comfortably rewards the victor’s efforts,” you may be thinking. The residence hall that wins Spring Sing receives an archaic trophy they will possess until the subsequent year, when a new champion will earn it. Oh yeah, and a pizza party. That’s right; all those sleepless nights and piles of refurbished cardboard will give them a shot at maybe procuring a rusty, old cup and enjoying a fleeting, dining experience they likely received as a prize in elementary school for turning in the most box tops.

I know these sound like pointless prizes, and let me be the first to affirm that they absolutely are. But participating in Spring Sing for the past three years has been one of my most favorite experiences during my time at Westmont. Regardless of Spring Sing’s rich legacy as the quintessential Westmont tradition, it’s the event I most anticipate at the advent of every school year. As my final semester at Westmont begins, my last Spring Sing is quickly approaching, and I can’t help but recall all the benefits of participating in my first Spring Sing freshman year. At 2 a.m. in Clark A Lounge during Spring Sing week, I formed some of the most meaningful friendships in my life. As my fellow Clarksters and I worked side-by-side during all hours of the night to perfect our musical, eight-minute, onstage production, we strengthened relationships that remain constant to this day.

So don’t be alarmed if your student communicates an intention to participate in what could ultimately be one of his favorite college experiences. Trust in her academic diligence, encourage her to make sure she’s still eating and sleeping, and know that much greater prizes exist than pizza, trophies and the eternal fame and glory she’s convinced her dorm will receive upon winning. Disclaimer: the student body will likely forget who won within a week of Spring Sing as the inevitability of finals week tends to have that effect on people! If he’s open to it, your student may just meet some of the most important people in his life.

Did I mention that this is your opportunity to experience Westmont as well?! Spring Sing weekend (March 20-21) is also Parents Weekend, sponsored by the Alumni and Parent Relations Office. You have an opportunity to attend the legendary Westmont tradition described above (whether your student is involved or not), explore campus and Santa Barbara, and confirm that your student is indeed going to one of the best schools in the country. You will even enjoy the added pleasure of meeting other parents, faculty and the esteemed college president himself, Dr. Gayle D. Beebe, in addition to attending a number of informative and fun events the Parent Relations Office has organized! Whether you are a first-year parent or a fourth-year veteran, you won’t want to miss this weekend!

Being a Sophomore: One Student's Perspective

KatieThis month we introduce Katie Skiff, a student worker in our office, who will give you a glimpse into life as a sophomore. A double major in Spanish and economics and business, Katie has actively served on the Potter’s Clay Core Team as co-director of construction. We especially enjoy her work for our office as a student ambassador, which involves conducting face-to-face interviews with our alumni in their hometowns.

Welcome to the life of a sophomore, a year characterized by two main activities: starting to do what you are passionate about doing and solidifying friendships with people you really enjoy being around. This year, the classes you take are increasingly the ones you want to take with other students who are also interested in learning the same things. Exploring at a deeper level and concentrating more on your major helps you find what you are passionate about. This meaningful discovery of the area of study that keeps you going excites your mind; it fuels and is fueled by your God-given talents.

... One of the most exciting things about honing your passions is discovering people who love the same things you love. It’s incredible to get involved in clubs or student leadership, where people are fired up about the same activities and ministries that excite you. In groups of people who encourage your talents and passions you find amazing friendships with people who truly care about you, who go out of their way to do anything to help you, who pull you toward Christ. The second year at Westmont is a time of discovery, a time of affirmation, and a time of pursuing Christ at a deeper level with people who are your home-away-from-home. It’s wonderfully vibrant. It’s outrageously joyful. And it’s wildly beautiful.

What’s Campus Life up To??

DannyGreetings from the Office of Campus Life. We’re in full swing this spring semester, and we’re going non-stop until May!

My main responsibilities at the college involve events, programming and leadership development. Specifically, I work with the Westmont Activities Council (WAC), Spring Sing, Focus Week, student clubs and a handful of additional initiatives. There is plenty to do, and you can see that my work is rarely dull when you read about a few highlights from January 2015.

... WAC kicked off 2015 with Java and Jazz where 400 students crammed into the Page Multipurpose Room to reenergize and reconnect after the first week of classes. The name tells you we offered live jazz and espresso drinks, but other draws included a traveling magician and McConnell’s ice cream. A few days later, we hosted Cupcakes and Clubs, where we showcased our 60-plus student clubs and organizations. The allure of a free cupcake if they visited three different tables invited students to consider co-curricular opportunities.

The topic of the 2015 Spring Focus Week (a time we set aside each spring semester to focus on one pertinent issue) was Pillars of Perseverance. “Pillars” refers to both practices that augment our resiliency when faced with challenges and people who model/inspire resiliency. We sought to equip students with tools and resources they can use when they experience adversity.

January concluded with our annual President’s Ball, where Dr. and Mrs. Beebe welcomed students and graciously posed for hundreds of red-carpet photos as faculty, staff and students danced the night away to a live, 18-piece swing band.

I would be remiss to omit Spring Sing. An event of this size requires an enormous amount of planning, and we are deep in the heart of preparation. A kick-off event February 5 revealed the theme, Communication Breakdown: That’s How Rumors Get Started, and students have begun writing scripts, dances, lyrics and puns.

All these events are wonderful, but the true joy of my job is journeying alongside your sons and daughters as they navigate the ins and outs of college life. I have the privilege of seeing them at their best, seeing them at their worst, guiding, counseling, celebrating, and laughing everyday with these young adults as we co-labor toward a common mission.

Thank you for supporting the college and recognizing the importance of co-curricular opportunities. I hope to see you March 21 at the 54th annual Spring Sing!

A Sample of Pillars of Perseverance

PillarsEach semester, the student life office offers a week of lectures, activities and events that encourages students to consider global or personal issues and to strengthen their faith. As Danny stated in the previous article, this semester featureda focus on Pillars of Perseverance.

In chapel, education professor Jane Wilson shared personal experiences and practices of perseverance that build endurance, strengthen character, and bring hope when facing adversity. She says, “God’s blessings are with us when life is good, and He is with us when life is hard. We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4).”

Listen to Jane Wilson’s inspiring chapel talk.

Summer scholars

SummerIf you or your friends have kids, nieces, nephews, cousins, siblings or friends who are juniors or seniors in high school, please let them know about Westmont Summer Scholars. This three-week, residential summer experience will help them prepare for college.

... Participants take one general-education course, earning four units of college credit and having a fantastic time. They explore important and interesting subjects in rigorous classes. They grow close to one another in a supportive community. They discover the joy and challenge of integrating their Christian faith with top-level scholarship. Students live on campus with their classmates for three weeks, and a Westmont resident director and current students serve as mentors. On the weekends, students enjoy enriching, extracurricular activities in this culturally and academically vibrant program.

Click here to learn more about Westmont Summer Scholars.

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Commencement 2015

CommencementAttention senior parents!
Can you believe it’s almost that time already? Learn all you need to know on the recently updated Commencement website.

 

C.S. LEWIS’ The Great Divorce and Westmont coming to you!

CS LewisParents in Seattle, Portland, Chicago/Wheaton and Minneapolis are invited to a special event. The alumni and parent relations office is planning Westmont gatherings in these cities to attend the Fellowship of Performing Arts adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ classic work “The Great Divorce.”

A reception prior to the play will feature a lecture and discussion about the book led by a professor, which offers a great way to become familiar with the performance before seeing it. We will attend “The Great Divorce” together, and those who wish to discuss it further will gather afterwards for dinner at a local restaurant. And we get the tickets at a discounted rate!

We’ve already held two gatherings in Thousand Oaks and Walnut Creek, and both proved to be fun, successful events. Take advantage of this great way reconnect with the Westmont family in your area.

Watch for more information via email about the play coming to your area:

Seattle: February 28
Portland: March 14
Wheaton/Chicago: March 28
Minneapolis: April 25

All plays begin at 4 p.m. with the reception starting about 2 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Did you know?

FountainWe learned this week that two new college rankings list Westmont among the top schools in the nation. Business Insider names it one of the 50 Most Underrated Colleges in America, and Princeton Review recognizes Westmont among Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best-Value Colleges, “the best overall bargains based on cost and financial aid among the most academically outstanding colleges in the nation.”

“Both these rankings recognize the tremendous success and achievements of our alumni as well as the excellence of our academic program,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We prepare our graduates to not only thrive in all spheres of society but to become leaders in all spheres of society. We’re proud of what they’ve accomplished.” Read the Full Article

Important Dates

President's Holiday: February 16-17

Midterm: March 4

Parents Weekend and Spring Sing: March 20-21

Spring Recess: March 30-April 3

Easter Recess: April 3-6

Baccalaureate: May 8

Commencement: May 9

Important Links

Parents and Families – Find information specifically for YOU!

Student Life - Find information for all student life offices, such as the Counseling and Health Centers, Office of Life Planning, and more

Campus Life - Find information about student-run organizations, clubs and ministries

Westmont Athletics – See Warrior Sports calendars and subscribe to the Warrior Update

Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art - Discover information about the museum and exhibits

Westmont Bookstore - Shop for gifts online

iTunes U - Access the archive of Westmont chapels, lectures and events at itunesu.westmont.edu

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