Written By: Liam Watts and Emma Baldwin
Last week marked the commencement of our now annual Orange Week at OKWU. Orange Week, named after abolitionist Orange Scott, highlights the need for the intervention of Christians from poverty, trafficking, and violence around the world. Every year, OKWU students have the opportunity to do small things to make a huge difference. This year, in addition to replacing lunch and dinner for rice and beans with the cafeteria donating the difference to Feed My Starving Children, the school also partnered with Venture. Venture is a global ministry whose mission statement is “helping some of the least-reached, least-resourced children become future Christian leaders.” Their goal is to use exercise and other physical challenges to raise money for the needy. Specifically, they focus on using their resources for providing food, education, and discipleship. Overall, our school once again displayed a charitable and empathetic spirit helping to raise money through the donation of meals and Venture’s own unique challenges.
Regarding the rice and beans, many students choose to give up their regular meals to donate towards Feed My Starving Children. Paul Hurckman described this mentality best while speaking in chapel by saying, “Give up a little, so that someone else can have more.” By giving up just one meal in the cafeteria, students could make sure that children in need would have food they desperately need. One student, Justin Huffman, a member of OKWU’s International Justice Movement team, described it as a “a selfless act that I would have been disappointed in myself for not doing. Especially as a Christian and knowing what Jesus would do, it was my privilege to be able to love on people who might never know me. We were feeding God’s kingdom.”
One of the other activities students at the school could participate in was a bike riding challenge. For every 10 minutes that students rode stationary bikes, $10 would be donated towards the Orange Movement. Three bikes were set up outside of the cafeteria and many students chose to make a difference by riding. One of the students who did so, Paige Bostwick, said that “it was cool to do something for a good cause. It’s only 10 minutes of my time, which is the least I could give, and it’s a good workout.” Others must have felt similarly as there was hardly a time that the bikes went unoccupied.
At seven o’ clock on Thursday, February 14, OKWU faculty and students conquered their fears and dove courageously into the icy waters of the campus pond. Certain faculty were voted to partake in the “Polar Plunge” throughout the week by people putting money in their designated jars. It was set for Valentine’s Day to remind everyone what true love looks like. The faculty and staff that were voted to take this leap of faith included Traci Toy (honorary “mom” of the wrestling team), the soccer and basketball coaches, Dr. McNall, Kyle White, Dr. Fisher, and President Dr. Piper himself. Several OKWU students were brave enough to volunteer and jump in just for kicks and giggles alongside their fearless leaders.
When asked what the significance of the Polar Plunge is, Dr. Fisher replied, “There would be almost no other cause that I would jump in that lake in February for. … [I’d do] anything to raise money for the Rahab girls… I think the [coordinators] chose who they thought would look most ridiculous jumping into the pond.” Dr. Fisher’s reservations about the Polar Plunge, though greatly outweighed by her support of the Orange Movement and care for the Rahab girls, were quickly confirmed once she dove into the lake.
She said the experience was like “jumping into a big glass of iced tea on a hot summer day.” She said she was thinking, “How can I get out of here as fast as I can?” She said that the water was “miserably cold” and that while she did not feel like she was going to die, she thought she “might go into shock.” When I asked Dr. Fisher who her moral support was at the event, she said Dr. McNall, explaining that they had been talking to each other all week to see if the other thought they would have to jump in. In fact, all the faculty were checking with each other throughout the week to see what the other people were thinking. They kept telling each other, “Don’t you dare put money in that jar!” No matter how nervous the faculty members were to do the Polar Plunge, however, at the end of the day, they still toughened up and did it. Dr. Fisher concluded saying, “I would totally do it again for this cause, but no other.”
In summary, these were only a few of the activities in which students could participate during Orange Week. While it might not seem like a lot, donating meals and time will make a huge different in someone else’s life. So, a big thank-you to anyone who participated in another successful Orange Week at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.