When Lauren began to search for colleges, she had one thing on her mind: she wanted a school that focused on peace.
“I come from outside of the Mennonite church, but I really wanted a peace studies program,” said Lauren. “When I heard about Goshen and checked out the core values, I was utterly stunned. I expected to have to go to a huge university and seek out my niche, but Goshen has everything I wanted and it felt perfect.”
Well, there was just one more thing.
“I visited campus one day and saw a student walk into the library barefoot. That sealed the deal.”
In the peace, justice, and conflict studies (PJCS) program, Lauren wrestled with issues of reconciliation and nonviolence. In other spaces around campus, her love of language and expression pushed her deeper.
“As a PJCS major, I was tugged towards caring for those who suffer some of life’s most extreme traumas,” said Lauren. “As a student of writing, I strove to arrange words in such a way that someone else’s soul might be moved. As a member of choir and theater groups, I sensed the strength in telling truth through sound, movement, genuine presentation and interaction with others.”
For Lauren, advocacy and creativity go hand-in-hand. At Goshen’s annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest for students, Lauren delivered an award-winning pacifist response to the Occupy Wall Street movement, crafting her words with courage.
“I’m deeply passionate about the power of language. It’s creative, versatile, beautiful and fresh — we use language to express joy and devastation; for advocacy or worship.”
After she graduated Goshen College in 2014, Lauren moved to Madison, Wisconsin.
“It matters less to me what I do. What’s important is how I learned to do it,” said Lauren. “At Goshen, I graduated with more than a degree; I graduated with a better understanding of the world.”
-by Anna Ruth ’12