First, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to new and returning Bethel College students. I am honored and eager to serve as the new student body president, and look forward to meeting and engaging with new students and reconnecting with those whom I have already gotten to know as my Bethel family.
When I say “Bethel family,” I am not just being clichéd and talking about a tight-knit community. I am talking about the friends who have been there for me through the great triumphs and have helped me get through the really rough times. I am talking about the professors who go above and beyond to ensure that I have an enriching academic experience, and that I am more than prepared for my future. I am talking about the campus employers who teach me skills I will carry with me throughout my life. I am talking about the group of people that make every experience on this campus so worthwhile and so meaningful. And I am so excited to welcome to you this community where I know you, too, will be given the opportunities to thrive in every aspect of your life.
As we continue classes, sports, music, theater and other extracurricular activities, I urge you to dive into those things wholeheartedly. Yes, they take time, and yes, you will be busy. I guarantee you, though, that when you look back someday, you will not remember how busy you were, but rather how much you gained from all of your experiences at Bethel. When you are in the classroom (and that means actually going to class), be an actively engaged learner. Ask your professors questions! They are experts in their field and have so much knowledge that they are eager to share with students. When you are on the field or court or wherever your sport takes place, lead by example and do not take the easy way out. When you have a concert or audition coming up, spend time in a practice room until you have your piece mastered. Here at Bethel, your hard work will not go unrecognized.
I also urge you to get involved. I know that this is a phrase heard around college campuses all over the world, but it really rings true here at Bethel. Getting involved is the best way to immerse yourself in the college experience and make connections that will last a lifetime, as well as help you stand out from others with whom you may be competing for jobs or graduate school seats in the future. It is never too early to too late to get plugged in to the campus community.
What does getting involved at Bethel look like? I suppose it looks something like a giant mosaic of people, places and opportunities, because there are countless ways to be involved in this community. Interested in representing your classmates and bettering the school? Run for class senator for SGA. Need some extra money? Get one of the many jobs on campus. Love to go rock climbing? Join the Rock Climbing Club and go on rock climbing trips. Want some job shadowing experience or an internship? Get connected with one of our many alumni across the country who have found success in their field and love helping Bethel students. The list of ways to engage yourself in the Bethel community goes on, but I think you get the idea.
One of the ways I am involved on campus is through the Student Government Association. SGA exists by the students, and for the students. By that, I mean we are made up of students just like you, and our goal is to represent you in every way that we can. Whether you have a concern, an idea, a suggestion, etc., SGA works to make your voice heard. Our focus is to make positive change at Bethel by bettering the lives of students and bettering the community as a whole.
In years past, SGA has helped bring Mojo’s Coffee Shop to campus, improve the cafeteria food, establish a student Judicial Council, make laundry on campus coin-free, and bring a healthy vending machine to campus, just to name a few things. This academic year, our big goal is to put a student on the college’s Board of Directors as a full voting member so we can further our mission of making the student voice heard. We are also working to improve education and resources regarding sexual violence on our campus.
Choosing to come to Bethel College means you have chosen to get your education at one of the best schools in Kansas. You can look at the statistics and see that Bethel is top-notch, but it is not until you actually get here that you realize how special this place really is. I invite you to embrace this community and everything it has to offer, and see how you flourish as a result of it.
Kiley D. Varney
Student Body President