Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Goshen College celebrates “Weather or Not” Day


GOSHEN, Ind. – Some northern Indiana residents may give little thought to winter, but Goshen College celebrated the weather amid snow flurries, a sun break and a chilly breeze during a unique celebration on Jan. 24.


Students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for speeches, music, poetry, a weather prediction, a presidential proclamation and ice cream treats at the first-ever Goshen College “Weather or Not” Day.


A crowd of about 150 gathered beside the Adelphian Fountain — just east of the Administration Building — for 20 minutes of merriment and laughter despite temperatures in the mid-20s. Snow-removal equipment served as a backdrop for a lectern and mat that had been placed over a snow-covered patch of grass.


Jason Samuel, general manager of 91.1 FM The Globe and the emcee for the event, got the festivities under way by reading an upbeat weather quotation from John Ruskin, a 19th-century English writer, who said: “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”


Clearly unimpressed, Samuel responded, “Yeah, whatever,” a remark that drew laughter.


He introduced Goshen College Campus Pastor Bob Yoder who offered an all-weather prayer, which included the following, “O God, Weather … it is an act of your creation. Weather … it is the result of your handiwork, and because of this, we give you praise.”


Professor of Physics John Ross Buschert, co-inventor of the (retired) Goshen College “Sapometer,” offered an overview of theories that might explain Goshen’s relatively mild winter temperatures. Using a giant slide rule and various meters, and assisted by professors Dan Smith and Ron Milne, Buschert input various measurements, took a snow sample and declared that the Sapometer had developed the ability to control the weather.


After that announcement, Andrew Landis, a second-year music major, led a group of Goshen College students singers and the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Let It Snow.”


Next, sophomore Analisa Gerig-Sickles read fun and boisterous weather quotations. She began by quoting Maya Angelou, the famed writer, who once said of the weather: “Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, ‘I’m going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that’s tough. I am going to snow anyway.’”


Gerig-Sickles read humorous quotations about the snow by Carl Reiner, the U.S. comedian and actor, and Bill Watterson, the creator of the “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip. She also read an excerpt from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” a poem by Robert Frost: “Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here. To watch his woods fill up with snow.”


However, the highlight of the celebration was the reading or a humorous all-weather proclamation by James E. Brenneman, the president of Goshen College.


Brenneman stated that “God ‘causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,’ even those wearing L.L. Bean Gore-Tex.” He mentioned that Goshen had its fourth-warmest December in recorded history and said that Goshen College’s Core Values — Christ-centeredness, passionate learning, servant leadership, compassionate peacemaking and global citizenship — “are equally applicable in sun as well as snow.”


After several long digressions, Brenneman declared Jan. 24, 2007 as “Goshen College ‘Weather or Not’ Day” and further proclaimed that he intends to declare “Shorts Day” at the college soon, which he said would mark the end of winter and the start of spring.


Samuel closed the program by thanking the participants and the crowd and by inviting all to enjoy one of the 430 frozen treats donated by Campus Dining.


The “Weather or Not Celebration” was conceived and developed by Richard R. Aguirre, Goshen College’s director of public relations. He offered this explanation for organizing the event: “Goshen College is committed to academic excellence and is dedicated to the development of informed, articulate, sensitive and responsible Christians. We also like to have a good time and celebrate life — more than enough reason to gather for this event.”


Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or




Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit



Campus Pastor Bob Yoder’s prayer for “Weather or Not” Day

Read at Goshen College, Jan. 24, 2007


Weather, it is a Prayer

By Bob Yoder


O God,

Weather…it is an act of creation.

Weather…it happens.

Weather…it comes in all forms.

Weather…some like it as solid, white fluffy stuff,

            And weather…some like it as sunshiny, warm dryness.

Weather…it is all around us,

            Some like it’s present reality,

            While others yearn for a futuristic different state of being.

O God,

Weather…it is an act of your creation.

Weather…it is the result of your handiwork,

And because of this, we give you praise.




President James E. Brenneman’s official proclamation for “Weather or Not” Day

Read at Goshen College, Jan. 24, 2007




Whereas “There’s a spot in Indiana where the leafy maple grows,” unless it becomes diseased and has to be cut down; and


Whereas , God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” even those wearing L.L. Bean Gore-Tex; and


Whereas , “606,” in the Mennonite Hymnal. OK, I know it’s “118” now. But I really don’t understand why they had to go and change that. It was perfectly fine as “606.” I still can’t get used to saying “118.” Can you? But I digress. Anyway, “606” states that we should “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below,” and there’s no distinction by climate; and


Whereas Goshen had its fourth-warmest December in recorded history; and


Whereas , California has had unseasonably cold weather while Indiana has had relatively mild weather so far; and


Whereas Goshen College’s Core Values are all-weather principles of faith and learning. Indeed, Christ-centeredness, passionate learning, servant leadership, compassionate peacemaking and global citizenship are equally applicable in sun as well as snow; and


Whereas , celebrating as a campus community is a good thing — and so is praying, discussing scientific theories, singing, reading poetry and eating Popsicles;


Now therefore, I, James Brenneman, or “Jim,” as I prefer to be called on campus. Of course, “Jaime” is fine if Spanish is your primary language. Also, Dr. Brenneman is OK in some settings. I also answer to “President Brenneman,” although that sometimes seems awkward to me. After all, you wouldn’t use “Student” in front of a student’s last name or “Teacher” in front of a teacher’s last name. And I won’t even tell you what Terri calls me in private. You see, I really prefer being called “Jim.” Seriously. But, again, I digress.


Anyway, as the 16th president of Goshen College, I do hereby concur with most of the above, except for the really dumb stuff, which I didn’t write, and I hereby declare Jan. 24, 2007 as Goshen College “Weather or Not” Day. I further proclaim that peanut butter and jelly go well together and that this year’s Super Bowl will be great, regardless which team wins. I’m totally impartial. Go Colts! Finally, at a future appropriate date, I will declare “Shorts Day” at Goshen College, which will mark the end of winter and the start of spring. Of course, I want to emphasize that the snow and winter are also great.


In testimony whereof:

I have hereunto placed my signature upon this not-so-sacred document at Goshen College on this 24th day of January 2007. Can I leave now?


—James E. Brenneman, President


E-mail this story

Goshen College
1700 S Main St
Goshen, Indiana 46526
phone: +1 (574) 535-7569
fax: 535-7660