INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY BENJAMIN K. PAPLHAM | ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Major / minor: English & Secondary Education
What is your position with the Emmaus Center? I currently serve as one of their three Campus Wide Programmers.
How did you first become involved with the Emmaus Center? I loved the student ministry work I was doing at my church before college, so when I found out about the ALIVE team, I applied right away. I was offered a position as one of the eight freshmen apprentices before officially committing to SNC, and it ultimately brought me to where I am today.
Can you explain what the Emmaus Center does and its role/mission with St. Norbert College? The Emmaus Center encompasses a wide variety of faith-based and community-building programs at SNC. It actually gets its name from the gospel story of the Road to Emmaus in the Book of Luke. I think that story is really a great representation of what we as a Center aim to do on campus, which can be briefly summed up to walking with students on their individual journeys of faith and life while encouraging a culture that looks for the good, or the God, in those around them.
As a whole, the Center embraces five core values: Faith, Calling, Wholeness, Questioning, and Radical Inclusivity. These values then drive the individual mission statements for each piece of the Center, which provides everything from Protestant worship services and Catholic programming to community-building activities and spaces of exploratory conversation. One of the coolest parts of the Emmaus Center is that the programs are almost entirely run by students who saw a need and created a program to fill it. The programs are not intended to preach at students or even answer any questions they might have. Instead, they create a space where that exploratory conversation can happen and students are able to engage in discussion that doesn’t happen anywhere else. This is where the real growth happens and where the companionship involved with walking alongside another person can truly develop.
I know that there are a lot of different programs and services that the Emmaus Center runs, but do you have any personal favorites? The ALIVE team will always have a special place in my heart since it is where I began my journey with the Emmaus Center, but I think my favorite program right now is Agape Latte. The goal of Agape is to provide a space for faculty and staff to share their stories of life and faith and to create fellowship among the college community. I love seeing my professors in a new light, and Agape Latte allows that to happen in a really unique way that I find incredibly compelling.
Is there something special the Emmaus Center is planning that you’re looking forward to this semester? There are so many good things! I guess the one I am most excited for this semester is “OMG! I’m a Senior” because this is the first year it applies to me. Every year a couple of the professional staff in the Emmaus Center bring a panel of professors together to talk about their experiences with difficult decisions, major transitions and life after college. All seniors are invited, and there’s always a chocolate fountain which is pretty neat.*
* Editor’s Note: “OMG! I’m a Senior” happened on Mon. Oct. 16, but keep this event in your subconscious for your senior year!
How have you grown during your time working with them? I could go on for pages about how I have grown while working with the Emmaus Center, but I honestly believe the most prominent thing this job has taught me is how to be introspective. This is a skill that has quickly become a personal habit and allows me to regularly improve the way I work and consistently develop a stronger sense of self.
What book character would you go on an epic adventure with? I would love to bring Fenoglio, the grandfatherly author in Cornelia Funke’s YA novel “Inkheart,” on an epic adventure. Maybe an unlikely option since his character is pretty old, but he knows a good adventure when he sees one and has the optimism and imagination to make any situation hopeful and exciting.