MISHAWAKA—On Feb. 24, there will be an African American Read-In from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the President’s Dining Room. This event is just the tip of the iceberg of the plans Student Support Specialist Ian Thompson has for encouraging education in diversity on campus.
Thompson described the African American Read-In as an evening where African American writers’ works are read in front of a crowd by a group of volunteers. Anyone who is interested in volunteering to be a reader can contact Ian Thompson by emailing her at her Bethel University email or visiting her office in Sufficient Grounds. Her office hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Thompson’s other plans include a talk with Billy Kirk scholars in the near future, date to be decided, and a gospel concert planned for April 17.
Another plan currently in the works recently had its first meeting. Ekom’e, which means oneness or unity in Ghanaian is still organizing when a regular meeting time, but the officers for the group have been chosen. The president is Kobe Hicks, the vice president is Wanise Little, the secretary is Tayah Smith and the treasurer is Jalontae Blakely. The group's first meeting updated their constitution and helped decide those positions. They have two forms of membership: a Full Member and a Friendship Member.
This group is talking with Bethel Conservatives about hosting events together. These groups want to further conversation on Bethel’s campus.
“There’s a lot to learn from each other,” Thompson said. “I’m very excited about that.”
Ekom’e is planning on doing mission work in the area with Corey Lance. The opportunity will help Bethel give to the community around the campus. Thompson wants this group to be very inclusive to support the meaning of its name.
“Everyone can be part of the group; there is a place for you,” Thompson said.
Thompson said at the end of the day, learning is the most important thing people on Bethel’s campus can do. Education on issues of race in this climate are important to Thompson and she wants to make that available to Bethel students sooner rather than later. She wants to set up activities, workshops and events on the education of race issues. Thompson emphasized what she wants out of a Christian university.
“As a Christian university, we have to address issues of race,” Thompson said. “Justice should be paramount in a Christian’s life.”
Thompson said that Bethel University is preparing students, not just to be lawyers or doctors, but to be Christians who are ready to share the message of Christ.