During her inaugural address on Saturday, Feb. 17, President Stoltzfus offered four “distinctively Goshen” affirmations.One of her affirmations was that a Goshen education “will continue to express and to integrate the transcendent values of beauty, truth and goodness,” she said.
Beauty, truth and goodness are all values I have discovered in my almost two years at Goshen College. I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on where I have found them.
When I think about what makes Goshen beautiful, I think about the people that make up this diverse community. Of the 800 undergraduate students, 43 percent are students of color. I saw beauty in the strength of my friend Amy, who while on SST in China was treated differently than me and the other white students because of the color of her skin did not let that get in the way of her connecting with and embracing her host family. I see beauty in my friend Yazan who I remember so clearly telling me that despite all of the disrespectful comments he was receiving is still going to share his voice, because it matters. That is beauty.
As President Stoltzfus put it, “Goshen challenges learners to let many ‘prior things’ fall apart — received worldviews or biases or privilege that stand in the way of our becoming the people we long to be, and to bring about the world we want to live in.”
Identifying what I hold to be true has been one of the most transformative parts of my time here at Goshen. I can think of several classes, experiences, speakers and events that have played a part in this transformation. The Clothesline Project during Sexual Violence Awareness week, Goshen Monologues, Safe Zone training, SST in China, the International Student Coffeehouse and classes like Liberation Theologies and Human Behavior just to name a few.
As President Stoltzfus also named in her inaugural address the city of Goshen claims as its motto that we are ‘uncommonly great at the common good.’ I think one of the greatest things about being at Goshen College is being so close in proximity to the downtown or what I see as the heart of Goshen. Through being employed at Maple City Market I have seen first hand the vibrance of this community while selling cilantro and eggs and brussel sprouts to the chefs from Constant Spring and Common Spirits as well as the Recipe Editor and Food Stylist for Edible Michiana. I see goodness of this community in the warmth and safe space The Electric Brew offers and the beautiful bouquets one can buy at Flowers by Phoebe.
So I encourage you, my fellow students at GC, be on the lookout for beauty, seek those spaces you feel you can voice your truth and be challenged by others truths and take advantage of the goodness of Goshen and all it has to offer.