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Parent Support Net - March 2015

Dear Westmont Parents,

Excitement fills the air as we head toward Parents Weekend and the celebrated tradition of Spring Sing, the musical competition your students lead and produce! We hope many of you will attend both events as they offer a variety of opportunities to experience your son’s or daughter’s Westmont and see your student perform on stage at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Teri Bradford RouseYour students are working hard, with midterms just past. The challenges of academics and the many worthwhile opportunities for involvement can create stress at this point in the semester. Students need to learn to set priorities and choose among many good things. Thankfully, I believe Westmont is well equipped to help them in this process. As a parent of a Westmont freshman, I can think of no better place for your son or daughter to learn these lessons and receive the support they need to navigate the college years.

Easter break arrives soon and brings the ministry of Potter's Clay in Mexico, an outreach in San Francisco, and a new project in Salt Lake City this year. Hundreds of our students will participate, using their break to serve others. Don't you love it? Many will head home, and you’ll enjoy having them around the house. You may discover that while they’ve learned and changed so much in college, they still don't clean up after themselves! But we still love them and are so glad to have them home.

We pray that you are drawn closer to Him in the season of Lent, and we all wish you a blessed Easter. May the hope of new life fill you each day.

Blessings,

Teri

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

Meet the Alumni & Parent Relations Staff

Being a freshman: one student's perspective

Westmont students This month we introduce Arianna Pacheco, another student worker in our office, who will give you a glimpse into life as a freshman, aka a first-year. As we are blessed with two first-year students in our office, you will hear another first-year perspective next month.

Arianna majors in psychology and enjoys serving on Westmont’s cheer squad. She’s excited to participate in Potter’s Clay during spring break, where she will serve on the dance team.

Westmont College was a dream come true for me. Never in a million years did I think I would be lucky enough to attend a school that was not only so close to home but so welcoming that it easily felt like home. I’m from a little town called Carpinteria 10 minutes south of campus. Some students may think I’m crazy for staying so close to home, but it was the best decision for me. I was terrified of leaving home, but that feeling was eased as soon as I stepped onto campus the first day of Orientation. You could instantly feel the warmth of the community, and it was clear that every person you could see was rooting for you.

... When the student assigned as my roommate decided not to continue at Westmont, it was like half of my college experience was ripped from me. All summer I was dreading having a roommate because I am a neat freak at heart and was worried how someone else would fit into my life. But I had become excited about all the fun memories we would soon make, and now that wouldn’t happen.

As the first weekend of college ended, I felt I’d gone through enough college experiences to last a life time. I was overjoyed with the classes I had and was ready to tackle them. I soon learned that college academics took up much more time than high school studies, yet you feel you need so much more time to socialize. My room has hosted countless get-togethers and dance parties. Then you remember you have a test in two days and that you have yet to study.

Although these experiences from the outside may not seem significant, I feel they have all shaped me into the person I am today. Now we are half way through the second semester, and I did finally get a roommate. She is about the sweetest person on the planet. Even if you’re a neat freak at heart, you can put that aside and let loose. With the empty bed occupied, fewer people hang out in my room, which has helped me lock down and study for tests. The dance parties have not stopped and still serve as everyone’s outlet from all things academic. I’m just one example of how freshmen can and will find their way through college.

La Historia de una Perspectiva en Potter’s Clay

Joseph Briones We’re confident that this personal story from Joseph Briones, a third-year kinesiology major, will touch you:

I was prepared to go home spring break my freshman year. Spring semester was off to a better start than the previous semester. I’d been working harder than ever before in my studies and was ready to enjoy a time of recuperation and relaxation. I wanted to rest. I needed to rest. However, I was unaware that God was calling me to Ensenada, Mexico, to serve where students have gone for decades. I’d never done a missions trip before. How could I join more than 200 students and make an impact in people’s lives in these communities? But God had prepared the way for me before I even knew it.

... Two core-team leaders for Potter’s Clay came into my room in Page Hall and encouraged me to register. They talked about Potter’s Clay ministry in depth and the need for more students to sign up. They shared a story about a young, married man living in Ensenada with his ill father, away from his family. His wife and two kids were living hundreds of miles away. One of the construction projects was building a home on the grandfather’s property so the family could live together in one place. I was immediately convinced that I needed to make something of my break and go to Ensenada to continue building the relationship Westmont has developed with the community in Mexico.

After I registered for a construction team and submitted all the required paperwork, I discovered I would serve on a team with 11 other students and two contractors to build the house for the family I’d heard about that night in Page Hall. I was shocked to hear this news and also encouraged. Despite a lot of fear about the trip, the week became one of the best experiences of my college career.

It got off to a quick start. As soon as we arrived early Saturday morning, I was amazed by how different the community was. The city itself was gorgeous, and I was mesmerized to see a rich and beautiful culture on the surface. My team embraced the community surrounding the home of the gentleman and his ill father. Our project began with nothing but a cold, concrete foundation. In five days, we constructed a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home with a roof and living room ready for the family to move in. We communicated love and patience through our actions since our words were limited. The home became not only a place where this family could live together but a new landmark in the story Westmont has shared with Ensenada.

This week shaped my perspective of what missionary work is capable of achieving and influenced my desire to continue the ministry. When we finished our project, we celebrated by presenting the man, Chaco, the keys to his home. We were ecstatic to hear that his wife and two children would arrive a few days after our departure, and the family would be reunited. We received a blessing from the kind words his father expressed and the hospitality they provided while we were working. Before we said our goodbyes, we gave Chaco a Spanish Bible since he didn’t own one. Our service had encouraged him to become closer to the word of God. My heart was filled with joy and overwhelmed by how God brought my team together, an amazing group of individuals, and how our actions made him present and known.

Now in my third year at Westmont, I’ve experienced Potter’s Clay as a full week of community and service. Last year I served as a co-leader for the VBS team (Vacation Bible School). This smaller team worked with a community of children, and we focused on expressing the love of God by engaging with them through education and play. In both of these experiences, I’ve appreciated that this mission trip is more than simply eating delicious Mexican food and taking pictures that express how service-oriented I may be. This week of ministry is about expressing God’s presence, love and existence in Ensenada by fostering relationships with individuals through the various outreach teams.

I continue be intrigued that my story is only one of hundreds of stories about Potter’s Clay; everyone has their own story, including the people in Mexico. It’s part of God’s remarkable masterpiece, bringing people from different nations, languages and cultures together to love and glorify him as one.

Dios les bendiga! “God Bless You!”

What’s Your Student Planning to do over Spring Break??

Potters Clay Did Joseph’s story about Potter’s Clay inspire you? It’s not too late for your student to participate in this important tradition. You can check the website to learn how Westmont has been working with Ensenada residents to make a difference in the lives of countless people. There’s also an important note about safety in Mexico. Be sure to watch all five new videos to see what students accomplish in Ensenada. These short videos provide a perspective available only through images and film.

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Westmont's Garden Feeds Your Student

Maggie Iba Tucked away on Westmont’s 111 acres of wild and developed land, the garden began producing food in fall 2011. Westmont College Dining Services by Sodexo started the project to provide the college community with a space to learn and explore the practice of growing food and caring for creation. It also offers students a variety of educational and internship opportunities related to plant propagation, stewardship of the soil, cooking/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, marketing and food justice. The gardens have produced more than 5,000 pounds of organically grown produce served in the Westmont Dining Commons and donated to local organizations.

The gardens cover a little less than an acre of land and feature more than 15 varieties of fruit trees and vines, native and exotic flowering perennials, lots of annual vegetables and trillions of microorganisms in the soil contributing to the magic of growth. With the precious resources God has given us, we hope to bring more good food to people and bring more people to their food. The garden project always seeks opportunities to collaborate with the larger Santa Barbara and Westmont community. If you would like more information, please contact Maggie Iba ’07, garden project manager, at miba@westmont.edu.

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Did you know?

Reed Sheard Westmont CIO Reed Sheard has been named a Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader for 2015. He accepts this prestigious, lifetime award in March with other top IT professionals from the business, education, government, service, technology and non-profit sectors.

Since he arrived at Westmont in 2008, Sheard has employed innovative and resourceful technology to advance the college’s mission. “Reed has revolutionized the way Westmont matches appropriate technology to meet the goals of our faculty, staff and students,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “He has led by listening then strategically aligning the college with developing technologies and companies to better fulfill our mission without increasing the budget or adding personnel.” Learn more about Dr. Sheard and this significant award.

Important Dates

Parents Weekend and Spring Sing: March 20-21

Spring Recess: March 30-April 3

Easter Recess: April 3-6

Last Day of Classes: April 30

Final Exams: May 4-7

Baccalaureate: May 8

Commencement: May 9

Important Links

Parents and Families – Find information specifically for YOU!

Commencement: Everything you need to know about Commencement weekend

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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