Campus News

Graduating class of 2015 leaves a warm reminder for current students

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If you’ve been paying attention, or even if you haven’t, you’ve probably noticed some construction taking place right in the midst of our campus life. What you may or may not know is just what that cement foundation next to the gazebo is for. “It will be a fireplace that people can sit around … hopefully there might be some cooking done there as well,” said Jordan Holmes, senior and current student body president. The fireplace is the graduating class of 2015’s senior gift, which they are providing in tandem with the class of 1965. The decision on why a fireplace, other than something like a legacy stone or legacy trees, came down to a majority vote, according to Holmes. “The upper class student council, along with the Alumni Services office and the maintenance crew, went about a list of different projects that they could do for the senior gift,” said Holmes. “Through that we were given a list of four or five different projects that we could do. And then we went to the Senior Experience classes during the semester and we asked and had a vote to see what senior gift people would want. And so for the people that voted, there was a heavy, heavy majority that wanted the fireplace compared with some of the other options that were available.” Gavin McGrath, a graduating senior who also donated to the project, said the process for choosing wasn't quite as smooth as one might have thought at first. "As far as I know, originally they had wanted to make the seniors a part of the senior gift," said McGrath. "There was a poll that we took ... and there were like three options that I think student council had come up with. And we had to choose one of them. And then we chose something and essentially the alumni office decided they didn't like the one we chose and came up with a different option and it was just kind of announced." The original plan for the gift, according to McGrath, was new furniture for the Great Room in Sailor Hall. Previous gifts include a few benches around campus, an outdoor auditorium near the dining commons and a patio outside the Campus Center. The senior gift is generally a way for a graduating class to leave their own touch to Bethel's campus. But as for this particular gift, McGrath said he has a bit of a hard time really getting into the project personally. "It's hard for me to have a positive opinion about it, because I felt that ... we had this choice in the matter, and then it was kind of taken away from us, which is kind of frustrating in general." However, McGrath still did donate to the project, although he did offer his opinion on a possibility for future senior gifts. "There's only so much area on campus for us to keep building things," he said. "I feel like every senior gift seems to be the addition of some sort of pavilion, like they pave something over and add chairs or add a bench," he said, citing previous senior gifts. "We're running out of room of places to pave, and I think they need to start taking a couple years' worth of senior gifts and then doing something bigger with it, instead of trying to make one gift every year, because then it ends up being just small things that aren't used very much." As for this fireplace, Holmes still thinks it'll be a nice addition to the central campus. Holmes said, “We thought it was a good way to beautify campus while adding another centerpiece that people can go with outside and hang out at. Kind of like the gazebo is a good place for people to sit around (and) talk, we wanted a place like that.” Holmes said that construction is hoped to be completed before graduation. So when you’re outside making s’mores or roasting hot dogs or just having a nice fireside conversation, you’ll be able to thank students just like you that have come through Bethel, and made it out with that coveted degree. And who knows, maybe someday your own senior class may contribute to something even bigger.

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