What Are the Students Like at TWU?
This is a question I am asked when people find out I teach at Trinity. This past week I was reminded of just how amazing they are. Last week was a busiest week in a semester of busy weeks. It's that time of the semester when students and faculty are facing the stress of major assignments and midterms. Frequently, in the middle of the controlled chaos that seems to reign supreme at this time of year, the thought of adding "one more thing" to our schedules seems like an invitation to insanity. And yet, this past week two of the student groups from our department - FAS (the Foreign Affairs Society) and HPIUS (History, Political Science, and International Studies Undergraduate Society) - took leadership in providing our campus and community with two incredibly valuable learning experiences. On Tuesday night FAS hosted an all-candidates forum that gathered together five candidates from the Langley constituency who are running in the upcoming federal election. The cafeteria was full of students and community members who engaged their candidates in tough questions about the issues facing the community and country today. On Thursday night HPIUS hosted a panel discussion on genocide in the twentieth century. This time it was Block Hall that was full, on a night that two national debates - the English-language leaders' debate in Canada and the vice-presidential debate in the US vied for attention. Genocide is not a pleasant topic to discuss, as one of the speakers noted; the fact that our students invested tremendous efforts in organizing the panel speaks to their willingness to engage touch questions even when there are no easy answers or solutions. But that is who our students are - young adults who come to TWU eager to make a difference in the world in which we live.
I was so proud of our students this past week. They are busy - very busy - and could easily have chosen to do anything else but provide these two valuable learning experiences to their peers and the community. Instead of sitting back and letting someone else take the lead, they stepped out and provided leadership themselves. They did not stand at the front taking accolades for their leadership; they worked behind the scenes moving chairs, doing promotion, making phone calls and sending emails. Their labour to make these events possible was a gift to their fellow students and their university's community. They manifest the heart of servant leadership. I came away from the week heartened by their leadership, humbled by their efforts, full of hope for the leaders of tomorrow, and inspired for the work ahead this semester. Teaching at TWU is physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. It is also vitally fulfilling. Each new year brings opportunities to meet amazing young people who have and will continue to impact our world. In the midst of last week's busyness, I was blessed to receive a number of updates from students who have graduated. As I stole moments to read emails and cards I marvelled at the lives of our students who are transforming their world. What are the students like at TWU? Simply amazing.