The first week of class is an exciting time. Old friends are reunited and new friendships are formed. It is a time of open doors and open arms, a time of comfort within the community. Last week, we experienced the loss of items, approximately $1500 worth, which were taken from our living space on the fourth floor of Coffman. After recovering from the initial shock of finding out that our possessions were gone, I was filled with a menagerie of emotions. I was upset–$1500 is a large sum of money, and $500 worth of that stuff was lent to us. I was also slightly shaken because our stuff was taken during the night when we were asleep. More than the loss of material possessions, however, I felt violated. I was hurt that someone, either from our Goshen College campus or from the greater Goshen community, would so shamelessly take what was not theirs. I was hurt that someone would abuse our trust in the community for their own personal gain. It was not really the best way to start the busiest school term for me thus far. The repercussions of theft are more than just loss and gain of materials. The loss of trust is the bigger price paid. The sense of violation that comes with theft is a terrible thing to feel toward a community that one loves. And we are slowly rebuilding that trust. We want to be a welcoming household, and we want people to feel free to come to our home at any time.
While I do advocate remaining diligent about possessions and being smart about things like locking doors, I also want to challenge us all to embrace respect for both the possessions and the emotions of our community. I don’t see a need to worry about my possessions being snatched every time I leave my house because I trust (or at least I am learning again to trust) the community around me. To live in a loving, respectful community is an awesome experience. It is my hope that Goshen College can remain that kind of community, and that we–as its members–can continue to trust our neighbors and colleagues.
This perspective is by Josh Hertzler, a junior History and Secondary Education major.