INSIGHT:  Small Steps Toward the EPS Vision

By Bart Gummere, Associate Head of School for College Counseling & Alumni Relations

This past Tuesday, January 3rd, EPS hosted our young alumni in an after-school reception. As always, the kitchen staff provided some nice refreshments, and everyone enjoyed good conversations. Faculty caught up our alumni on happenings here. And we were excited to hear more from alumni on their lives in college. It never gets old for me to hear about each of their successes and happiness as they explore life beyond their home.

While that interaction is worthwhile and enjoyable, it has become apparent that our alumni are more interested in doing something beyond eating and chatting when we gather. To that end, we included a small service project with the event.

As part of the Union Gospel Mission’s effort to aid the homeless, volunteers go nightly to distribute supplies and food. (You can read more here.) They are in constant need of resources, so our office donated supplies and our group set out to make 400 almond butter and jelly sandwiches.

All attendees were free to participate or just to remain chatting and eating. It says a lot about our alumni that soon after the supplies were brought out, nearly everyone was engaged in producing and bagging these sandwiches. There was a lot of fun engaged in this production. Plenty of light kidding traded. “I can spread almond butter twice as fast as you.” “That isn’t the best way to get jelly from the jar.” But mostly old friends and new acquaintances just chatted while they got the work done. In about an hour, we met our goal of 400 sandwiches. I thanked everyone and said we would take care of everything from there; they stayed and helped clean up EVERYTHING anyway.

We all know just how difficult the homeless problem is here in Seattle. The sandwiches we made were able to put just a tiny dent in that need. Still, I wish everyone could have seen the appreciation and heard the thanks of the volunteers at UGM as I dropped off this food. Many of us donate money to various causes. To me, there is something even more powerful to giving in time, effort and product. I emailed our participants to share the appreciation of the organization. I hope it will serve as just one more small step in recognizing our Vision Statement, “Inspire students to create a better world.”