“The voice to change the hiring policy is far older than GC Open Letter’s three years on campus. It’s a voice spoken by many. It’s a voice that was once silenced, which grew into a whisper, which has turned into a call,” said Stefan Baumgartner, senior and Open Letter co-leader. “It’s a voice that has spoken of love and of pain. It’s a voice that has cheered and has wept. It’s a voice that is strong. It is a voice that is hopeful. It is a voice that is brave. It is a voice we represent today.”
On February 20at 10:10 a.m., students gathered in the Church Chapel to express their desire to see change in the hiring policy to the Goshen College Board. Current GC Open Letter leaders Abby Deaton, senior, and Stefan Baumgartner, senior, along with future Open Letter leaders Hannah Beachey, junior, and Ardys Woodward, sophomore, knew that this opportunity would be the last time the student body would be on campus before the board met after the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City, MO. The board announced that they would make a decision on the matter sometime after the convention in Kansas City, which is why the students on campus knew that it was the perfect chance to express that they were ready for change.
“We wanted the rally to encourage the board; we wanted to challenge them to use the power that they have. We avoided any kind of negative spirit, but we wanted to make the urgency obvious,” said the leaders of the Open letter. The idea to make the paper crane wall was made by Abby Deaton. The other leaders thought it was a good idea and ran with it.
The Open Letter committee will continue to encourage students to wear their purple shirts weekly on “purple shirt days.” They also plan on the possibilities of having bigger events later on. The leaders of the Open Letter are very grateful to their supporters.
“We told them that we needed help to get started on the crane making event and the students arrived with 500 pre-made cranes. The rest of over 1800 paper cranes were made on Wednesday night, some people staying an extra two hours than the planned end-time folding, stringing and gluing the cranes,” said Stefan Baumgartner. “There were students who stayed a total of six hours that night to help put this together.”
The planners of this rally were hoping for 80 students to attend the rally, but their expectations were exceeded when over 150 students, faculty, staff and community members attended in their support.
“Its one thing for us to be excited about such a big event, its another thing to see it come to life through the passionate devotion of our supporters,” said Baumgartner.