GOSHEN, Ind. —Reminding listeners of Goshen College’s legacy of awakening students to issues of peace and justice in the broader world, a Goshen College senior won the annual campus C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest Jan. 21.
In his winning speech, “It Takes a College to Raise an Activist,” Tim Nafziger of Goshen encouraged the audience to recognize the unique opportunity Goshen College students and faculty have to follow in the path of professors like Guy F. Hershberger and C. Henry Smith who spoke out about their convictions and acted on them.
Said Nafziger, “I chose my topic because I’ve found that Goshen College has been a very nurturing and supportive environment for peace, and I hope that it can continue to play that role in the future.”
He continued, “Classrooms must be more than places where students learn analysis. They need the example of professors who are actively engaged in their subjects. [Goshen College] must equip students to deal with a world in which communities of people will be the basis for lasting and effective social change through activism and organizing.”
“We have the opportunity to raise a whole new generation of activists who will not only learn about the world, but act in it as well,” Nafziger concluded.
An English major, Nafziger is active in the college’s Pax club, a student peace organization. Last summer, he was part of the inaugural Study-Service Term unit to Cuba. Nafziger is the son of John and Lois Nafziger; he graduated from Bethany Christian High School in 1999.
Nafziger won $150 and the opportunity to compete in the U.S./Canada Mennonite Central Committee-sponsored C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest this fall. Goshen College students have won the event three out of the last seven years.
Pat McFarlane, associate professor of communication and coordinator of the contest, said, “I believe the personal nature of Tim’s speech made it strong; he connected what he himself had learned at GC about activism with his hopes for the college’s future.”
Rachel Brice (Jr., Goshen), won second prize and $100 for her speech, “Harvesting Peace.”
Rebekah Henn (Jr., Dousman, Wis.) spoke on “Taking Action Against World Hunger,” Dan Shetler (Fr., Goshen) spoke on “Disparity of Wealth” and Nicole Miazowicz (Fr., Hudson, Mich.) spoke on “Uganda: The Children’s War.”
Judges for the contest were Joseph Miller, pastor at Waterford Mennonite Church; Jon Kauffmann-Kennel, manager of WGCS radio station; and Sue Conrad, former Goshen College assistant professor of communication and current student at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
The trust of C. Henry Smith, a Mennonite historian and professor at Goshen and Bluffton (Ohio) colleges, funds the contest, which gives students an opportunity to become involved with the peace cause while cultivating rhetorical skills. Speech contests have been part of GC’s history since the early 1900s; the C. Henry Smith contest allows the campus community to hear more about relevant, contemporary issues. Participating students research their topics and hone their speaking and presentation skills, helping them prepare for future settings where they need to clearly articulate difficult issues.
Goshen College is a national liberal arts college known for leadership in international education, service-learning and peace and justice issues in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program and exceptional educational value, GC serves about 1,000 students in both traditional and nontraditional programs. The college earned citations of excellence among U.S.News & World Report, Yahoo! and Barron’s Best Buys in Higher Education. For more information, visit www.goshen.edu/.
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