Literary Celebration and Conference Hosts Friends and Family

synecodoche-11-0019Friends and family gathered around to celebrate achievements and explore readings at Vanguard University’s Department of English annual Global Literatures and Christianity Conference on April 10-11.

Each year, students collaborate on a conference theme, choose panel topics and put on a party to celebrate students’ many literary achievements and enjoy a time of exploration into diverse texts. For this campus-wide, undergraduate conference, the English department invites all students to attend and contribute their own work.

On Thursday, the department hosted the Synecdoche Literary Celebration where original creative works were performed and the new Synecdoche released. For the release, the celebration featured live music, snacks, numerous literary readings and the induction ceremony for the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta.

Sophomore English major and co-president of Sigma Tau Delta, Elaina Ahmed said the celebration was enjoyable for all attendees. During the celebration, the new Synecdoche released for purchase and multiple pieces from the literary journal were read aloud. Reflecting on the creative excellence of senior Meredith Howard’s short story, Ahmed said: “I was listening to her read it and you could have been there.”

On Friday, Vanguard hosted academic panel sessions and presentations from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the nursing building. Undergraduate English majors presented academic papers, followed by two roundtable discussions on the topics: “The Power of Storytelling through Diverse Voices” and “From Paper to Digital: The Evolution of Book Culture.” Speaking on the discussions, the chair of the English Department, Dr. Karen Lee, said: “The students tackled a range of sophisticated topics, and they rose to the occasion with zeal.” According to Dr. Lee, this year’s conference was a “grand success.”

To learn more about Vanguard’s Synecdoche, click here.

San Francisco Spring Break Missions Bring Love to Tenderloin

IMG_3949Vanguard University’s San Francisco Outreach worked with City Impact to bring the love of Christ to the Tenderloin during this year’s Spring Break mission trip.

The Tenderloin is the “skid row of San Francisco,” senior psychology major Katie Friesen said when describing her experience on the San Francisco Outreach (SFO). It’s a place that is “super dark spiritually” and overwhelmed by drugs, alcohol, sex and abuse, she said. However, there is a light among that darkness: City Impact. City Impact provides for the basic and spiritual needs of people living in the inner city of San Francisco. On March 16-22, Vanguard’s SFO team served alongside City Impact to bring the love of Christ to people in need.

According to their website, City Impact offers three types of work: “relief for those in urgent need, rehabilitation for those wanting a way out, and development to ensure the cycles of poverty and despair are not repeated.” They provide free meals, a very affordable thrift shop and a k-8 school, which is the first school in the Tenderloin area. Coming alongside City Impact, the SFO team helped prepare meals, minister to the homeless, pray for people in the Tenderloin and show the love of Christ.

When describing her experience staying with City Impact and working with them, Friesen said their love and commitment to spreading the Gospel inspired her. One of their goals is to get every apartment complex in the Tenderloin to hear the Gospel, so they go door to door knocking. The SFO team joined in their mission during the week they were there. When tenants would open the door, the team would offer prayer and encouragement, and when there was no response, the team would pray over the door.

Also, the team joined with City Impact in handing out chips at night to the homeless. It was a great way to strike up conversations, share Christ’s love and show them that someone does care about them, Friesen said. “We had the raddest conversations with these people,” she said. “It was so cool to see the Holy Spirit work,” she added.

Looking back on the trip, Friesen said she was inspired. When the trip was nearing its end, Friesen said she began thinking about the intentional love that she had been sharing with the people of the Tenderloin during outreach and how she could continue sharing that love beyond the trip’s last days. She said she thought to herself: “This is how it’s done here, now how does it look at home?” Since returning to school, Friesen said she has begun to look for ways to love people like she loved them in San Francisco, whenever and wherever opportunities arise.

For more information about Vanguard’s missions teams, click here.

Future Student Leaders Attend Christian College Leadership Conference

CCLCgraphicOn April 5, future Vanguard University student leaders attended the Christian College Leadership Conference (CCLC) at California Baptist University.

Each year, Vanguard University provides the opportunity for all of the new student leader hires to attend CCLC. The conference allows students from multiple Christian universities to gather for worship, teaching and lots of good fellowship. The day includes main sessions for all attendees, breakout sessions, and lots of time for student leaders to bond together through discussions and various games.

For this year’s conference, keynote speaker Josh Riebock spoke for the two main sessions and the band All Sons and Daughters led worship. Riebock, a bestselling author, shared his message using his favorite medium: stories. Throughout the message, Riebock would make points and then use narratives to better illustrate his ideas. Jaime Saravia, a current Huntington Hall Resident Assistant (RA) and a future Vanguard Centre RA, said the storytelling was very effective in catching his attention and speaking to him.

Looking back on the conference, Saravia said: “It helps leaders to begin to prepare.” Being his third time attending the conference, Saravia knows its value. Through past conferences, this year’s conference and personal experience as an RA, Saravia said he has learned that “although the chaos is there, God’s there too.”

To learn more about Vanguard’s student leadership positions, click here.

Off the Block Party to Host Games and Fun for Everyone

Off the Block PartyCommuter Life is reinventing how they form commuter events and everyone is invited to experience the first test run on Thursday from 11-1 p.m. on Heath Lawn.

The Off the Block Party’s slogan is “You Bring the Party”. Commuters and on-campus students are invited to bring friends, skateboards, guitars and whatever else they want, to add to the games and snacks that Commuter Life will provide. For games, Commuter Life is bringing a football, soccer, Frisbee, horseshoes, corn hole and croquet.

Along with sports and other games, this “little summer bash” will feature summer tunes, ice cream sandwiches and an all-inclusive environment that differs from past commuter events, commuter program director David Remedios said. “The No. 1 thing we want to do is create an inclusive environment for commuters,” Remedios said. He noted that, in the past, most commuter events have focused so much on getting commuters together that they lacked a key component: the integration of commuters into the Vanguard community as a whole.

The Off the Block Party will encourage integration and set a trajectory for future Commuter Life events. “This is just kind of testing the waters a bit,” Remedios said about the party. Looking ahead to the event, Remedios said he is looking forward to seeing commuters’ response to this new way of doing commuter events.

To learn more about Commuter Life, click here.

Students and their Grandparents Enjoy Quality Time Together at Annual Grandparents Day

ShahlaGrandparentsDayCollageOn April 4, the Vanguard University campus filled with young and old for the annual Grandparents Day.

Each year, Vanguard invites students to bring their grandparents to campus for a day full of free activities. It’s a chance for student’s grandparents to see and experience their grandchild’s home away from home. One student, junior communications major Shahla Hijaz, said that her grandparents “were genuinely excited, happy and honored to be there.”

Sharing their experience, Hijaz said her grandparents, Manuel and Gloria Garcia, were excited to have the chance to be with her and to catch a glimpse of the place that provides her education and contributes to her overall growth. Coming from Simi Valley, the Garcias are Hijaz’s mom’s parents. Hijaz spoke of the blessing her grandparents have been in her life and her gratitude for the close relationship she shares with them. “They’re always so excited to support me,” she said.

For the event, Vanguard hosted multiple activities for students and their grandparents to enjoy. Activities included dining and devotions, a presentation by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Celebration of Significance Luncheon. At the luncheon, Vanguard’s choir sang, warming the hearts of multiple attendees. Hijaz said that her grandmother thoroughly enjoyed the singing and even felt tears well up in her eyes.

After the event’s activities, Hijaz took her grandparents on a little tour of the campus. When showing them the communications office, she had the chance to introduce her grandparents to many of her professors as they passed through. Looking back on the introductions, Hijaz laughed as she pictured her grandmother skipping the handshakes and going straight for the hug with each professor. “She greets everyone with a warm embrace… She’s a hugger. She doesn’t shake hands,” Hijaz said.

At the end of the day, Hijaz, her mom and her grandparents went to Balboa for a boat tour. Looking back on the day, Hijaz said: “That was exactly the medicine I needed: Their love and comfort.” With school being pretty overwhelming at the time, their short visit was the spark she needed to keep going and finish the semester strong.

To learn more about Grandparents Day, click here.