Midterms: Fall Semester Recap

Highlights from the first half of fall 2020.

Fall is in the air and the campus of Olivet Nazarene University is alive with color and community. Through the hard work and dedication of University task forces and through the continuous commitment of faculty, staff and students, Olivet continues to be a safe place to learn, grow, and fellowship with one another. 

In celebration of reaching the midterm of the fall 2020 semester, here are a few highlights of what life at Olivet has looked like over the last seven weeks.

Fall Festivities for All
The Office of Student Development has found creative ways to engage the student body this semester through nightly programming at the Plex. During the first of two scheduled reading days, which happened to be the first day of fall, the Associated Student Council took advantage of the time to put on a day full of festivities. 

Students enjoyed of fall themed activities including donuts and cider, yard games, pumpkin painting, succulent planting, a petting zoo and more! Toby the Tiger even made an appearance. 

A Time to Worship
Beyond weekly virtual chapel services and messages from Chaplain Mark Holcomb, the Office of Spiritual Life has given students ways to continue to keep Christ at the center and grow in fellowship with one another. The Festival of Ministries gave students opportunities to learn more about how they can get involved with God’s work through campus ministries. 

The Shalom Project, also hosted a Night of Worship on the Weber Lawn featuring student music ministry teams. As an integral part of the Olivet culture, students were given the space to safely come together as a body of believers to worship and pray.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Come True
Olivet’s theatre program has found new ways to bring the joy of theatre to their audiences. Shakespeare in the Park has provided student actors a way to showcase their talents by reimagining stories by one of the greatest playwrights of all time. Their most recent show, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” sold out both performance weekends – a true success!

Audiences were captivated by the charming modern adaptation of the iconic Shakespearian comedy. The performance, given by the ONU Theatre Shakespeare Troupe, brings together a group of star-crossed lovers; a group of inept actors, led by the arrogant Bottom; the king and queen of the fairies, and their henchmen Puck, who wreaks havoc on them all. 

The Troupe will be performing their next Shakespearian piece, “Romeo and Juliet” on Oct. 22, at 6 p.m.; Oct. 23, at 6 p.m.; and Oct. 24, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Unity Walk
On Sept. 9, members of the Olivet football team, in partnership with the Departments of Athletics and Student Development, organized a Unity Prayer Walk throughout campus. The purpose of the walk was to demonstrate unity and understanding through the sharing of testimonies and targeted prayer. Athletes and coaches from all of the University’s 22 varsity athletic teams participated in solidarity.

Director of Athletics Mike Conway said of the walk, “The Unity Prayer Walk was an amazing opportunity for the campus to connect this week. I was so proud of Olivet’s student athletes for sharing their experiences and for our coaching staff and administration for working together to support and encourage candid conversations as we pursue positive growth across campus.”

Listening Sessions
Organized in conjunction with Dr. Cynthia Taylor and Olivet’s Multiethnic Student Services (MSS), the purpose of the first session was for students to express their vision for how Olivet can be a welcoming place for everyone to develop a sense of belonging.

Dr. Bowling opened the session by acknowledging the necessity of pursuing open and honest communication between students, employees and the administration in order to grow as an institution of higher education. 

“I think it is important for us as a campus community, and particularly for me as University president, to actively engage in candid and respectful conversations,” he said. “I believe that communication can bring understanding. Understanding can bring wisdom. Wisdom can bring healing.”

Student leaders from MSS were then invited to share about their experiences on campus as well as to offer suggestions for how the University might adapt to create an environment in which all students and staff feel safe and respected.

Senior Tiara Buchanan, a social work major and president of Diakonia Council, added insight to the session. Afterward, she reflected on the importance of having open conversations as the University continues to evolve: “Emotion was shown during our time together,” she says. “Hopefully our vulnerability will serve as a catalyst toward real and effective change. There weren’t any expectations for the session, but the administrators were receptive to our experiences and suggestions. I believe the conversation went well!”

Olivet will continue to provide opportunities for listening and learning this semester through additional Listening Sessions as well as candid interviews with chapel speakers, hosted by the Office of Spiritual Development. The first interview was with the Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero on Oct. 1.

Game On!
While athletics looks different with limited opportunities for fans to watch competitions, many athletic teams have continued to practice and found ways to have limited competitions. 

The Olivet men’s and women’s tennis team hosted the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional competition Oct. 1-2. The men and women competed well with teams advancing to the finals round the winning teams have an automatic bid to the ITA National Tournament on the campus of Berry University in Rome, Georgia. The National Tournament will be held from Oct. 16-18.  

The men’s and women’s cross country kicked off their fall season with the Tiger XC Invite on Sept. 25. Both teams were ready to compete. The men’s team finished second overall and the women’s team settled for third. On Oct. 3, both teams travelled to Louisville, Kentucky, for the Louisville Cross Country Invite, where five of the seven top female runners achieving lifetime personal records at the meet.

To learn more about Life at Olivet contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Published 10/5/20
HRI