Peer Leading Changed My Life

Originally posted by Trisha Moreno

Welcome week has ended, what is probably one of the craziest times in the life of an orientation leader is over. As I think and reflect on everything that happened in the past few weeks, I am amazed, I am in awe and unable to fully process God’s graciousness and goodness to me.

Three years ago, I came to Belhaven University, a scared freshman. An international student from Mexico who was far too scared to talk, far to closed to open up, far too insecure to be approachable, and too homesick to call Belhaven home. The entirety of my freshman year consisted of me feeling insecure and out of place almost everywhere I went, because I looked different, because I had a funny accent, because I just could not fit in.

I felt lonely and craved to belong. I craved for family, for people I could call home. Leaving Belhaven just because I didn’t “fit in” didn’t seem like an option, I was a hundred percent secure that this was the place where God had called me to go, but something had to change. I couldn’t wait for things around me to change so the change had to happen within me. I had to get out of my comfort zone, so I applied to be a part of the orientation staff, I applied to be a Peer Leader.

After a nerve wracking application process, I was offered a spot in the Peer Leading team, somehow I was selected, and the journey began. Coming back to Belhaven, as a sophomore and a peer leader changed everything for me. Even before peer leading training began, I was embraced, when members of the Belhaven Leadership Council (BLC) drove from Jackson all the way to New Orleans to “save” this random girl they have never met, me, who was stuck in New Orleans for the night with nowhere to go and no one to ask for help. That action meant to me more than words can express, it was God’s promise to me that He would always be with me, that He would always take care of me, that He would give me family, that I would never be alone.

My first year of peer leading happened, it was a pivotal event in my college experience and it changed me. I became a different person, I knew people now, I felt loved, I felt part of something, I felt that as small and insignificant as I am, I could make a difference. My approach towards college, and life in general, changed. I started a process of slowly getting involved, slowly getting out of my shell and blooming into a new person. Which led to applying for BLC.

Because of God’s grace, I was offered to serve in BLC as the Ministry coordinator during my junior year, and with that came the opportunity to be a peer leader for the second time. Junior year was so special, peer leading and BLC stretched me and helped me grow and mature, as a person, a Christian, and a leader.

Before peer leading and BLC, I never thought of myself as a leader, but I learned that leaders don’t look one way. The Lord can and will use anybody who is willing to be used, no matter how introverted or outgoing you are, no matter your race, ethnicity or nationality, God can and will always be glorified.

Through BLC the Lord grew me, taught me to trust more in him, and gave me the family I had craved. By the end of my junior year, I was convinced that I wanted to serve in BLC during my senior year. Crazy things happen and I am still amazed and somewhat unsure of how this happened, but somehow I was offered to be president of the Belhaven Leadership Council, and a peer leader once more! The president title seemed too official, too intimidating, too scary, yet so exciting and I took on the challenge.

I am overwhelmed by the goodness and grace that God has shown to me through the years, and through the past few weeks as a senior and president of BLC. Applying for peer leading was the decision that led me to this journey. I am beyond thankful for all the people that have been a part of this journey and I really have no words to express how much peer leaders and BLC mean to me and how much I believe in the power of God to produce change through them. I am expectant to see how the Lord will keep using Belhaven and student leadership to grow people and change lives.

I am inadequate, but the Lord’s calling is greater, He is greater and He will use my inadequacy to be glorified. For he is my rock, my shelter, my strength and my comfort.

Get involved, get connected!

#BelhavenIsHome

Sports Administration Students Study Abroad in London

12109872_10153154166308202_4639089987795567402_o

Sports Administration students from Belhaven University recently had a chance to see the inner workings of major sports – in London!

Students met with and learned from professional sports leaders across the host city of the last Summer Olympics. They visited Wimbledon, Wembley Stadium, Kingston and Cambridge Universities as well as the offices of NFL Europe and the British Olympic Training Center.

“The success of the London Trip provided a great experience for our faculty and students in our department to see the world of sports abroad”, said Dr. Howard Bartee Jr., Chair/Assistant Professor of the Sports Administration Department. “It is my hope that this experience will set the foundation for future opportunities, as we continue seeking to expand our reach of servant leadership through the academic discipline of sports administration, both locally, nationally, regionally, and internationally.”

Belhaven senior Jonathan Dickson, a member of the Blazers’ men’s soccer team, called the trip the highlight of his time at Belhaven.

“Being a Sports Medicine and Exercise Science major, my goals were to gain an international vantage point in regards to health and wellness,” Dickson said. “We were truly immersed in a culture that upholds a standard of excellence and tradition as well as a culture that celebrates the batty of living a healthy and active lifestyle.”

The trip was the first of its kind through the International Site Observation course taught by Dr. Ed Garrett, Assistant Professor of Sports Administration.

“It is because of Belhaven’s support for this trip that these student’s now have a greater understanding of a Christian Worldview because of their time in London,” said Garrett.

The course is expected to run every other year, allowing every sports administration student the opportunity to take the International Site Observation course before they graduate.

DOXA Elects Officers

“DOXA means glory.”

That’s what you will hear the dancers in Belhaven’s dance club say. Open to anyone, DOXA provides dance majors and non-dance majors alike an opportunity to glorify God through this student-led organization.

The organization, one of the most popular on campus, recently elected officers for the 2014-2015 school year are Edward DeShane (President), Arianna Marcell (Vice President), Hannah Janssen (Secretary), Taylor Ellen (Treasurer), Alayna Brenchley & Kaleb Reilly (Chaplains), Abigail Stauffer (Public Relations Officer), Marian Bayer (Production Manager). Cynthia Newland is the faculty advisor for the group.

DOXA is not just a club you “join”, instead you participate and go to the activities held by the organization. It is a great way for dance majors to get to know and bond their fellow dancers outside of the dance department and classes. DOXA coordinates dance student events such as Secret Encouragers and the Eagle of the Week. The Secret Encourager is where every dancer is given a name of another dancer to stealthily encourage them throughout the second semester of the school year.

The Eagle of the Week is given out during the Dance department’s weekly meeting. The Eagle of the Week is given to someone who has shown servanthood, leadership, encouraged others, and progressed that week. The eagle is given from the previous receiver to the person that has inspired them that week and who needs encouragement. DOXA is a ministry to the dancers from the dancers, there are times where DOXA holds events or worship nights.

“DOXA is great for our student body because it encourages us and reminds us to really just focus on the Lord,” said Stephanie Morales. “It reminds us that even though we are here to dance, we’re also here to worship and be His servants. It’s a really encouraging organization.”

DOXA holds a concert in November and is where dance majors, minors, or non-dance majors audition and are selected to perform a piece choreographed by students. For more information, check out DOXA’s web page.