Creative convention booth emphasizes giving

At the biennial Mennonite Church USA convention in San Jose, Calif., in July, Bethel College took a refreshing, creative approach to its college booth. Rather than following the established practice of giving away promotional trinkets to prospective students, the Admissions, Alumni and Church Relations Departments invited all visitors to the booth to give rather than receive.

The Bethel approach contrasted with those of the four other Mennonite colleges. Rather than spending money on give-aways, Bethel decided to give donations of $1,000 each to four mission or service agencies over the course of the four full days of the conference. Each day, prospective students placed a ticket symbolizing $1 in a raffle drum. The tickets were labeled with the name of their youth group. In addition, all visitors to the booth were invited to sign a large canvas, one each day, to be given to the agency along with Bethel’s monetary gift.

The $1,000 gifts and canvases will be presented to Hopi Mission School, Kykotsmovi, Ariz.; Mennonite Urban Corps, Los Angeles; and Goldensun Peace Ministries, Glendale, Ariz. On the final day of the convention, Carlos Romero, executive director of Mennonite Education Agency, drew one ticket from the raffle drum. The winning youth group — from Harrisonburg (Va.) Mennonite Church — has the privilege of choosing which mission or service agency will receive Bethel’s final $1,000 donation.

With a theme of “Find Your Space…Build Your Future,” the booth also emphasized service visually through a construction theme. Props included scaffolding, drop cloths, ladders, shipping crates and other items, all splattered with bright colors of paint that coordinated with the Admissions literature available.

Cross country to return

Gerry Sieber might have officially retired from coaching soccer at Bethel, but he’s not ready to slow down.

In fact, he plans to keep running — literally — and to coach others in running. President Barry Bartel announced recently that the college’s administrative cabinet, on recommendation from athletic director Diane Flickner, accepted Sieber’s proposal to revive Bethel’s cross-country program this coming fall.

Sieber coached men’s soccer at Bethel for 13 years, beginning in 1994, in addition to starting the women’s soccer program and coaching track for five years. He was also an instructor in health and physical education.

Museum program to highlight Warkentins

“Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin: Newton’s Finest Citizens” is the title of Kauffman Museum’s next Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum program, at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 19. Karen Penner, Newton, will present an illustrated program that she prepared for the international convention of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR) in Hays in June.

Penner is a former Kauffman Museum board member and currently serves on the boards of Warkentin House in Newton and AHSGR. The program is co-sponsored by the Warkentin House and is free and open to the public. For more information, call (316) 283-1612.

Fall Fest to feature many new events

Mark your calendar for Fall Festival 2007. Taste of Newton will be Thursday evening, Oct. 4. Various activities will be held on campus on Friday, Oct. 5. The 37th annual Fall Fest fair on campus will be Saturday, Oct. 6. Activities will conclude Sunday, Oct. 7.

Friday includes several new attractions. Students and faculty in science, technology, pre-engineering and mathematics (the “STEM” fields) will host an all-day STEM Symposium, featuring a variety of alumni presenters. The day also includes a nursing seminar and special nursing reception. A Bethel jazz gala concert will be held in the evening.

New Saturday entertainment includes a Bethel music extravaganza, the Newton Community Children’s Choir (conducted by new artistic director Brenda Bartel ’84) with Rosewood Winds, vocal group Just Friends, vocalist/instrumentalist Ann Zimmerman, a karate demonstration with admissions counselor Chris Rangel and alumna Jean Gaeddert ’80, magician Jonathan Sturdevant, instrumentalists Ben Regier ’03 and Daniel Regier ’05, and two hymn sings--one on Saturday afternoon and another on Sunday evening.

Exhibits include handcrafted Mennonite-style furniture by Daryl Nickel ’71 in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center and the new “Meet the Beak” exhibit at Kauffman Museum. Dozens of other entertainers and exhibitors are back, as well, plus an abundance of food.

A Fall Festival flier with complete details will be mailed to alumni and friends of Bethel in late August.

Reunions scheduled for Fall Fest

Classes observing 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th reunions will celebrate at this year’s Fall Festival, Saturday, Oct. 6.

The two younger groups — the classes of 1997 and 1992 — will gather from 10-11:30 a.m. in order to accommodate the needs of those with young children. The classes of 1987, 1982, 1977 and 1972 will meet from 1:30-3 p.m., giving participants time to also attend the Bethel music extravaganza at 3:30 p.m. Invitations from class hosts will be mailed to class members in mid-August.

More recent grads are invited to enjoy beverages at the Young Alumni Lemonade Stand near the Administration Building during the day.

Play golf at Hesston in September

Alumni and friends of Bethel are invited to return to Hesston to golf in the 16th annual Fall Thresher Golf Classic Saturday, Sept. 15. Feedback following last year’s tournament in Newton suggested golfers would like to play the Hesston course again.

The four-person scramble is sponsored by the Alumni Association and hosted by the Golf Committee of the Alumni Council. For a registration form, contact the alumni office, (316) 284-5251, alumni@bethelks.edu.

Receive a $10 discount on the $75 fee when registering with payment by Friday, Aug. 31.