Bethel continues building connections with Haiti for service and learning

Bethel’s Haiti connection continues to strengthen, most recently through two service-related trips by students and faculty.

After fall final exams and before Christmas, seven senior nursing students and one 2012 nursing graduate, along with one of their professors, Geraldine Tyrell ’07, spent a little over a week in the country.

Doug Siemens ’84, assistant professor of education, was there most recently, Jan. 21-25.

All spent most of their time in Hinche, in the central part of Haiti, where Bethel graduate Wildy Mulatre ’94 lives with his family and works as a health-care administrator.

The nurses were at Hôpital Ste. Therese in Hinche about four hours a day, doing basic care. “We divided into two groups, so each spent [time] in the men’s ward/post-op, pediatrics, some OB and a little time in ICU with one particular patient,” says Tyrell.

“It was a good cultural experience,” says Susan Morris, North Newton. “It was different from nursing in North America. We spent a lot of time sitting around, waiting for something to do.”

“We’ve been taught: Go find, go do,” says Cassie Hinerman ’10, Milan. However, the students and Tyrell found themselves frequently stymied by not speaking the language, as well as by the lack of supplies and equipment they were used to.

“We prepared for the worst,” says Morris, “but you can’t really imagine what it will be like. They didn’t have basic essentials” such as hand sanitizer (the group knew to bring their own), soap or easy access to running -- much less hot -- water.

“Whatever we thought it would be, it was still more extreme,” adds Janet Schauf, Clearwater.

One important thing they learned, however, was that Haitian health-care workers are “a lot more resourceful than we are, because they have to be,” Morris says. “They can think more critically.”

Learn more about Doug Siemens’ trip to Haiti.

Student hopes play will plant seeds of peace that grow in others

Bethel senior Renee Reimer wants to plant seeds of peace she hopes will take root in others.

On Feb. 1, she will stage the one-woman play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center.

The performance is free, with donations accepted. The play is rated “R” for language and is not suitable for young children.

Reimer has been preparing the play during this Bethel interterm, working with theater instructor Megan Upton-Tyner as director, along with senior Creigh Bartel, stage manager, and junior Jocelyn Wilkinson, sound and lighting design.

However, it really started two years ago, after another interterm experience in 2011. As a sophomore, Reimer was part of Professor of Bible and Religion Patty Shelly’s Jerusalem Seminar, offered every other January.

Reimer had wanted to go to Africa, she says -- but her mother, Rosie Epp, strongly encouraged her to take the Jerusalem Seminar instead. Epp, a pastor, had gone on the trip about a decade earlier.

The Jerusalem Seminar was a pivotal experience for Reimer.

“Being [in Israel/Palestine] for three weeks really opened my eyes to a different view on the world,” she says. “I saw the conflict up close and was able to decide for myself how I felt about it, rather than having the media shape my opinion.”

All the Bethel students returned from that trip determined to take some kind of action in support of Palestinians and nonviolent peace activism in the region. They organized several public events on campus.

Also at about that time, Upton-Tyner gave Reimer a copy of the script for “My Name is Rachel Corrie.”

It is based on the journals and e-mail messages of an American college student who, as a member of the International Solidarity Movement, traveled to the Gaza Strip in 2003. On March 16 of that year, she was killed when run over by an armored bulldozer operated by the Israeli Defense Forces.

Corrie was trying to prevent a Palestinian home from being demolished. She was less than a month shy of her 24th birthday.

Lean more about "My Name is Rachel Corrie."

James A. Will Family Academic Center wins state contractor award

Bethel’s new James A. Will Family Academic Center has earned accolades for Sauerwein Construction Co., Inc., of Wichita.

The firm received the Associated General Contractors of Kansas Award of Honor for its work in renovating the former Science Hall at a lunch and awards ceremony Jan. 18 at the Wichita Marriot.

The original building dates from 1924. It opened as the Will Academic Center in fall 2012, following major renovation and construction of a three-story addition.

The Award of Honor received by Sauerwein Construction was for a renovation project in the $2-$6 range.

The Associated General Contractors of Kansas State Building Awards recognize excellence in construction. For general contractors, the categories are: new construction; pre-engineered; renovation; and design build.

Criteria for judging include significant construction features, innovative construction techniques and outstanding examples of workmanship.

Rudi Sauerwein, general contractor for the Will Academic Center project, accepted the award on behalf of Sauerwein Construction.

President Perry White and Vice President for Advancement Sondra Bandy Koontz ’70 represented the college at the awards ceremony. Duane Hickerson, project architect, was also present.

“We congratulate Sauerwein Construction Company on this award,” said Koontz. “They have built a facility that will serve Bethel students for generations to come.”

Lincoln coming to Kauffman Museum

Kauffman Museum has been selected as one of four sites in Kansas for the second national tour of the exhibition “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.” The exhibition was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office and has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Kauffman Museum and partners Bethel College and Newton Public Library will celebrate the grand opening of the exhibition Friday, Feb. 22, with a come-and-go reception from 7-8:30 p.m. Richard Walker ’71, Newton, chief judge of the Kansas Ninth Judicial District, will provide remarks at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, March 3, at 3:30 p.m., William Rich of Washburn University School of Law will present a program, “The Gettysburg Address: Lincoln’s Framework for a New American Constitution.” Entrance to the exhibition and the public programs are free.

For more information, contact Rachel Pannabecker at rpann@bethelks.edu.

Fun and food: Valentine dinners raise funds for Kauffman Museum

Each February and March, friends of Kauffman Museum host dinners in their homes to raise funds for the museum. This year, meals will be hosted at 20 local locations. In addition, two alumni couples at a distance are planning dinners to benefit the museum, as well.

Space is still available to join the fun locally on Feb. 9 and 24, and on March 2. Respective themes for the meals are “Arts and Crafts at Home and Abroad,” “A Locally Homegrown Feast” and “A Valentine’s Treat.” Cost per meal is $40, with the entire amount tax-deductible.

To find out which meals still have space available and to make reservations, call the museum at 316-283-1612 Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or e-mail Andi Andres at asa@bethelks.edu.

Concert Choir on tour next month

The Bethel Concert Choir, under the direction of William Eash, professor of music, will sing in 12 venues throughout five Midwestern states on this year’s choir tour during spring break, March 15-24. Alumni and friends of Bethel are invited to any of the following concerts:

Friday, March 15

  • Grace Episcopal Cathedral, 701 S.W. 8th Ave., Topeka, at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 16

  • St. Francis Xavier College Church, St. Louis University, 3628 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 17

  • St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship, 3752 Giles Ave., St. Louis, in the worship service at 9:30 a.m.
  • Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship, 4229 Brownway, Cincinnati, at 7 p.m.

Monday, March 18

  • First Mennonite Church, 101 S. Jackson St., Bluffton, Ohio, at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 19

  • Bethany Christian High School, 2904 S. Main St., Goshen, Ind., in the chapel service at 11 a.m.
  • Prairie Street Mennonite Church, 1316 Prairie St., Elkhart, Ind., at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 20

  • St. John Cantius, 825 N. Carpenter, Chicago, in the mass at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 22

  • Mennonite Church of Normal, 805 S. Cottage Ave., Normal, Ill, at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 23

  • St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 6630 Nall Ave., Mission, at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 24

  • Rainbow Mennonite Church, 1444 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kan., in the worship service at 9:30 a.m.
  • Bethel College, home concert in Memorial Hall at 7 p.m.

Alumni invited to reunion events in May

Mark your calendar now for Alumni Weekend activities, Friday-Saturday, May 17-18.

As part of the weekend’s events, the Classes of 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968 and 1973 will hold special reunion luncheons at noon Saturday, May 18. Bethel staff will host a luncheon for the “Heritage Classes” of 1938, 1943 and 1948.

Alumni Weekend also features an opening meal and tour of campus highlights Friday evening, a breakfast featuring alumni award recipients Saturday morning, and the annual banquet for all alumni and friends of the college Saturday evening.

More information will be sent to reunion class members in spring. When finalized, the schedule will be posted on our website.

This year’s baccalaureate and commencement will take place Sunday, May 19.

Each May, classes celebrating their 40th, 45th, 50th, 55th, 60th, 65th, 70th and 75th anniversaries gather for special reunion luncheons the Saturday of Alumni Weekend. Those celebrating their 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th reunions are invited to gatherings on Fall Festival Saturday.