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Parent Support Net - January 2018

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Dear Westmont Parents,

teri-sept17I write this on the first day back after our second evacuation, and we’re delighted to have your students on campus once again. Thank you for the amazing resilience you and your students demonstrated during this incredibly challenging time. We’re deeply grateful for your faithfulness and for your confidence in Westmont through both joys and trials.

Our semester restarted last night in the gym with a barbecue for all the students, faculty and staff. We gathered as a community for a time to reflect, pray, give thanks and gather strength from each another. The students were delighted to be reunited with friends, and all of us felt a sense of peace at seeing everyone back together.

In the days to come, we have much to do. We also have a lot to look forward to. We want to accomplish our goals for the semester, and we want to be good servants to our neighbors who have lost so much. We face many challenges but also opportunities to deepen our lives in Him and grow in our faith. I have great confidence in our students and the entire community. I know we’ll come out stronger and more compassionate to the suffering around us.

I’m grateful for all of you, our Westmont family, and for the support you have given through emails and prayers. I appreciate the trust you have put in us. We take seriously and consider it a privilege to know and care for your students.

We walk in confidence as we move back into the semester, knowing God works in all and through all things.

Grace and peace,

Teri Bradford Rouse ’77

Senior Director of Alumni and Parent Relations

Welcome New Students and Parents

transfersandnewWe’re delighted to welcome our new parents and their students to the Westmont family. This semester, 30 students have joined us on campus. Many have transferred in, some are returning from time away or beginning their education at Westmont, and others are visiting for a semester from other Christian colleges. We look forward to meeting the parents of 18 women and 12 men, who come from California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, New York and South Africa.

Mark your Calendars for Parents Weekend

pw17We look forward to hosting you on campus for Parents Weekend March 23-24, 2018! Stay tuned for more information in your inbox and on our parents website. If you plan to join us, you'll find this a good time to book a flight and make a hotel reservation.

A Look Back at the Thomas Fire

firetrucksoncampusThis slideshow by Westmont photographer Brad Elliot provides a unique perspective.





Ash Falling on My Study Guide - A Student account of the Thomas Fire by Andrew Olson

I have never been woken to deal with an impending evacuation with as much grace as when my roommate, Micah Anthony, woke me on Sunday, December 10th. A soft hand on my shoulder, the room filled with the scent of coffee, and the gentlest 80 to 180 BPM my heart has ever raced. That adrenaline-fueled awakening contained in miniature my Thomas Fire experience: the taste of burnt material in the air (the coffee that morning), the presence of my friends, and the panic that comes from waking up to the uncertainty of a natural disaster.

The effects of the Thomas first crept into my life on Tuesday, December 5, when the college paper didn’t come on time. A minor inconvenience at best, but humans have the incredible ability to keep calm and just ignore a crisis until it actually starts affecting your life. Power outages up and down the coast had stopped the printing of the on-campus paper I’d stayed up late prepping. Still, with finals on my mind, even the smoke darkening the Horizon (ironically also the name of the paper) didn’t trouble me for long.

I packed my first go-bag Wednesday (December 6) after the voluntary evacuation warnings reached Carpinteria. In went a multi-tool, a change of clothes, toiletries, etc. For the next week, I set out my clothes every night so I could change in the dark if I had to. Doing something, even when the dangers were far away, helped create some small sense of control.

On Thursday (December 7), my friends and I officially adopted the Mask and Spectacle LookTM. With air quality deteriorating, Westmont had canceled all classes and provided students with N95 masks designed for smoke. Depending on the current mood amongst my friends, the masks either confirmed that California was about to go the way of the dodo or that, if it did, we’d look appropriately apocalyptic for the fiery demise of the golden state. This is what happens when one hangs out with theater people. Expecting finals to arrive come “hell or high water” (pun intended), we mostly spent the day indoors prepping note cards and making not-so-idle comments about the weather.


Freshman year, my friends and I had nested in the Clark Lounge for finals week, turning it into an appropriate base camp with tea, white board markers, and high-carb snacks to fuel the climb to winter break. Good liberal arts students always enjoy some symbolic resonance, so the group, now seniors, spent Friday (December 8) in a group study session in the GLC’s new spacious multipurpose room. To lighten the mood, we played a tabletop game about a steampunk city where ash falls from the sky. It felt thematically appropriate.

A kind of sharp politeness comes from the tension of crisis. Our days had been punctuated with the vibrations of phones signaling texts from anxious parents or the shrill beep of both local and Westmont community alerts. While all held the possibility of a flame-based destruction of Montecito in the back of our minds, it was the frustration of working on finals that received the most comments. A healthy dose of humor kept the disquieting nature of an orange sun and ash-coated ground at bay, but only just. The school felt like a swimmer on the block, tensed in anticipation but unsure when or even if the race would go on.

By Saturday (December 9), many students had left for bluer skies, having been released on Thursday to be off campus through the weekend. With more than half of its students elsewhere and the rest indoors, a strange quiet fell upon the Global Leadership Center (the dorm where I live). Still, our band of intrepid studiers once again nestled ourselves into the multipurpose room and kept up morale with a combination of tea and study-based oblivion. When on-campus finals were canceled mid-afternoon, both the tension and our patience for each other broke. We called families to detail the updates, shed tears of exhaustion and frustration, and watched Netflix.

Then I woke up at 7 a.m. to the alert that the evacuation zone had moved up two cities during the night, and I learned how fast I could pack up my room: about an hour. Westmont sent out a text calling the 200 or so students still on campus to the gym to begin preparing for a controlled evacuation, although the school was not yet in the evacuation zone. Here the morning blurs in my memory, becoming a mix of the repeating fire alarm in the GLC, images of an ash-covered parking lot, and the taste of a warm breakfast in the gym provided by some brilliant residence life staffer. My friends and I checked in and joined the line of students signing up as drivers to help students leave if they didn’t have rides. After all students were accounted for, my roommate and I drove to Solvang to have a coffee and get our bearings in a coffee shop also occupied by some UCSB students who’d left earlier that week. My day ended asleep on an armchair in the house of a family friend after swearing I’d just nap for a minute.

Finals week proceeded with a monotonous cycle of wakening, studying and sleeping; much like on-campus finals except no one else was studying around us. Our adventure ended not so much with a bang but a whimper and the disquiet that comes from unsaid goodbyes and an uncertain future.

Izzi Mata, who kept me sane with tea and humor, captured it best when she said living through the fire felt like being trapped and drained, but “having good people around” while going through it helped. The “willingness of people to open their homes” and both teachers and students “asking people if they were safe” and rallying to help, exemplified what makes Westmont an exceptional place. Students, teachers, and staff showed genuine care for each other, despite stress, exhaustion, and peril. I’ll make my fair share of jokes about the number of times “intentional community” gets thrown about, but when Hell and High Water come, it is a community we can certainly rely on. When Micah woke me on that morning, we gathered first as a circle of friends and then later as a school to deal with the crisis. When ash fell on my study guide and I woke up to an uncertain future, my community of friends and teachers was there.fire2fire3fire1





New Team to Serve Montecito

scrtTo respond to the devastating mudslides in Montecito, students and staff have worked together to create theStudent Community Recovery Team (SCRT).  The team will gather requests from the community and mobilize students, staff, faculty and alumni to meet those needs so we can reflect the light of Christ in our community. We anticipate many needs in the upcoming months, including babysitting, sandbagging, and cleaning.

Respected General to Speak at Westmont’s President’s Breakfast

michaelhaydenGeneral Michael Hayden, an expert on cybersecurity and a retired director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency will speak at the 13th annual Westmont’s President’s Breakfast on Friday, February 9, at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort. His recent memoir, “Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror,” discusses America’s intelligence wars and argues that in a time of new threats, espionage and the search for facts are essential to our democracy. Tickets are on sale now.

Operation Valentine

opvalThe student-led Urban Ministry team will deliver a Valentine from you to your student: premium long-stemmed roses in a chic vase, or a Valentine gift box loaded with wonderful treats, or both. A personalized message will let your student know you’re thinking of them on this special day. The cost is $15 for one item and $25 for both, with deliveries made on Tuesday, February 14. Place a secure order for your student no later than February 11.

Drawing Closer to God

martininstGary W. Moon, executive director of the Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Center, says that Dallas Willard believed God is present in a real sense and that when you talk with him a two-way conversation is possible. The institute and center encourage students and the Westmont community to grow spiritually and deepen their life with God. As part of their work, the institute and center will contribute brief devotionals for this newsletter.

Finding rest

“Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” (St. Augustine’s Confessions, I.1)

Following Jesus is not just something we ought to do. We are uniquely made for life with Jesus! Augustine shows us that we will not be satisfied with anything less than life with God. Jesus says, “Come to Me, allwho are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you andlearn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, andyou will find rest for your souls.ForMy yoke iseasy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus is pointing us toward true fulfillment and rest.

Read through what Jesus says again and look for a word or phrase that stands out or shimmers for you. Take a few moments to talk to God about the word or phrase and consider why it might be important for you right now. Take a moment to picture Jesus looking at you with His arms open to you. How might you respond?

For more resources, see the Dallas Willard Center website. You will also find video medications and devotionals.



Important Links

Important Links:

Operation Valentine Orders

Order by February 11

President’s Breakfast

Tickets on sale now

Parents Weekend Link

Check back for more information and registration coming soon

Spring Sing Information

Many important details you’ll want to know if you’re attending

Spring Sing Tickets

Tickets will go on sale soon. Check this link for updated information.

Parents and Families

Find information specifically for YOU!

Career Development and Calling

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

Campus Life

Find information about student-run organizations, clubs and ministries

Westmont Athletics

See Warrior sports calendars and subscribe to the Warrior Update

Westmont Health Center

See the important health services available to your student

Westmont TV

Access the archive of Westmont chapels, lectures and events

Give To Westmont