Last weekend, a prospective student asked me to tell her my favorite part of Goshen College.  I was taken back, not because it was an unlikely inquiry, but because I was surprised that I have never considered a response.  After pausing briefly to acknowledge to myself that I could not conjure a proper answer on the spot, I naturally referred to the GC core values (as any satisfied Maple Leaf should) and sidestepped the question by describing how the five ideals brought me to Goshen.

The question still stands: what is my favorite part of Goshen?  Briefly making a mental note of possibilities, I am not sure that any aspect can trump another.  My three-plus semesters on campus have undoubtedly been positive, so how could I choose only one favorite part of my experience?  Perhaps I never will, but after watching Kick-Off last weekend, I have at least lengthened my favorites list.

Seeing Sammy “Prince” Rosario strut from the back of Sauder Hall toward center stage, sporting an orange, feathery crown and sequin jacket over a black dress while singing Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” I was stricken by Goshen’s matchless flare.

The comedic dramatization of the Pennsylvanian Mennonite Mamas left me hungry for zwieback and laughing until the next act began.  And hearing original songs by Moral Circus and The Hipster Pops made me want to buy their CDs (or vinyl records; technology is way too mainstream, anyway.)  I also can’t forget the wit of the winning sketch performed by Matthew Lehman, Vanessa Jones and Jay Mast; who cares if they are from Bluffton… Hesston… Goshen?

Leaving the show, I could not stop thinking, “How do these people come up with this stuff?”  These acts vibrated with the creative soul of the campus that is so near to my heart – the soul which keeps spirits warm in the winter and energized in the spring.  I have never seen Goshen’s culture of originality and novelty more clearly displayed than at Kick-Off last weekend.

It is this soul that makes our campus a think-tank for ideas large and small.  Goshen’s soul inspires the anonymous letters of outlandish collages and quirky notes that come in my campus mailbox about once per week.  It feeds the work of our resident artists and filmmakers and it spawns ideas for progressive businesses like Menno Tea.  This imaginative soul is one of my favorite parts of Goshen.

Some might say that there is no room for creativity in the Church.  However, I say that we should create like the One who created us – enlivening campus creativity exercises our gifts and celebrates our Christ-centeredness.  After all, God gave us minds, why shouldn’t we use them?  And solving global issues such as hunger and poverty indubitably demands innovative ideas; why shouldn’t we begin innovating now?

Don’t be afraid of your own imagination.  Embrace your fanatical ideas and dream ingeniously.  Put energy into crafting and enthusiasm into thinking.  Release your insecurities and never shy away from an opportunity to be unique.  Create on, Goshen.

Quinn Brenneke is a sophomore public relations major