|STUDENT LIFE UPDATE—CITY ENGAGEMENT
Each year, the
nine Houses of The King’s College each adopt a project that enables them to
serve the people of New York City. In the past, these projects have ranged
from raising funds to combat sex trafficking, tutoring and ministering to
inner-city high school students, and volunteering in various shelters
throughout the city. This year, students decided to change the process for
this aspect of student life. Read on for a message from freshman Jake
Bedlion, the new City Engagement Director.
This past summer the presidents of the King’s Council voted to remove
City Engagement as part of the house competition. The final vote was not
reached quickly or easily as each president weighed the pros and cons of
keeping City Engagement in the competition. The primary concerns voiced in
those discourses were that, as part of a competition, service and charity
can become contrived, self-congratulatory measures rather than expressive of
the nature given by God. Additionally, the presidents felt that there was no
adequate criterion for judging the effectiveness of a project – the number
of meals served to the hungry is easily quantifiable, but how do you count
the number of souls saved?
Although they wanted to move away from the potential pitfalls of
“competing for good works”, each president strongly desired to keep City
Engagement at King’s, and after voting it out of the competition, the
Council formed a committee that would propose a plan for its future. The
committee proposed that a coalition be formed in which each house selected a
representative that would help govern City Engagement for the student body.
They also suggested the coalition be led by a director appointed by the
Each house will maintain its own service project. The City Engagement
representatives will help organize and execute their house’s project.
Additionally, the representatives and the City Engagement director will
select one house project each year to be expanded into a school-wide
project. Hands-on service will be emphasized in the individual house
projects as well as the project of the year.
This model allows for houses to build long-term relationships with
organizations as well as foster unity around a common goal. The school-wide
project will also provide incentive for houses to think objectively about
their projects, since the project will be chosen based on criteria set out
by the representatives.
Removing the competition from City Engagement will incite service born
out of the Spirit rather than institutionally imposed obligation or desire
for material reward. It gives students the opportunity to opt-in their level
of involvement, which will in turn produce healthier service.
For the remainder of this semester, I will be seeking out and working
with house representatives to continue or begin projects in each house. The
coalition will begin meeting this month. Their first task will be to create
a mission statement as well as some guiding principles for next year and the
years to follow. By the end of the spring semester the coalition will have
chosen a project of the year for the 2010-2011 school year. Since we are
still early in the process, we welcome any new ideas proposed by members of
the King’s community, including faculty and staff. If any opportunities come
your way, kindly contact me using the information below.
City Engagement Director