Campus News

Emily Kauffman and Gracie Tijerina

Larkfest: Serve, Celebrate, Showcase

Hesston College took a day off from classes April 14, to focus on college values of service and academic and leadership excellence during the annual LarkFest celebration. To start the day, all on-campus students participated in 35 service projects in local communities. During the LarkFest awards ceremony, students, faculty and staff were recognized for their achievements in academics and leadership. The top award, the Lark of the Year award, went to Emily Kauffman ’16 (Pettisville, Ohio) for excellence in leadership, academics and service. During the afternoon, students showcased their academic work, including music recitals, directing skills at a short film festival, chemistry and physics demonstrations, speeches and more.

VBS on the Road

Led by Bible and Ministry graduate Gracie Tijerina ’16 (Brownsville, Texas) (pictured), a group of Hesston students and graduates are spending the summer leading Vacation Bible School on the Road, traveling to churches in Kansas and Texas leading Vacation Bible School for congregations too small to run their own program. In summer 2015, Tijerina was invited to lead VBS at Argentine Mennonite Church (Kansas City, Kan.) for children in the neighborhood around the church. She recruited youth from Iglesia Menonita Buenas Nuevas (McAllen, Texas) to stay in Kansas City after attending the Mennonite Church USA convention to help lead the program. Because of the event’s success, South Central Mennonite Conference invited Tijerina to take VBS on the road this summer. Tijerina’s team includes Tanner Daniel ’17 (El Dorado Springs, Mo.), Abraham Mateo ’17 (Fort Myers, Fla.), Micah Raber ’16 (Millersburg, Ind.), Lilian Trifena ’17 (Tangerang, Indonesia) and Megan Bartley, a member of nearby Journey at South Hutchinson (Kan.) Mennonite Church.

Invite to submit third-party comments for BSN accreditation

From Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s Public Notice of CCNE Accreditation Visit Invitation for Third Party Comments
Hesston College Nursing will host an onsite accreditation visit by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) Sept. 28 to 30, 2016. The purpose of this visit is to seek initial nursing accreditation of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

In accordance with its Procedures for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs, CCNE provides the opportunity for program constituents to submit, in writing, third-party comments concerning a program’s qualifications for accreditation status. Third-party comments must relate to the CCNE Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs (2013). Written and signed third-party comments regarding the Hesston College BSN program will be accepted by CCNE through Sept. 7.

Comments are shared only with the CCNE evaluation team appointed to review the Hesston College BSN program. At no time during the review process are these comments shared with the program the Accreditation Review Committee or the Board. During its review of the program, the evaluation team will consider third-party comments, if any, that relate to the accreditation standards.

Those with comments regarding the BSN program at Hesston College may send them to the CCNE at or:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
ATTN: Third-party comments
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530
Washington, DC 20036

Board approves task force to strengthen sexual misconduct policies

In a May meeting of the Hesston College Board of Directors, college administrators proposed the formation of a task force to help the college establish policies and procedures to prevent and address all forms of sexual misconduct and to create a culture that seeks to support and empower victims. The board granted approval to continue moving the process forward.

“It is our desire to create a new and better culture that seeks to dismantle sexual misconduct,” said President Howard Keim ’72. “We recognize that our own history and that of the Mennonite church is not flawless in this regard. We want to create the best possible environment for the safety of our students and employees.”

The task force is expected to include a variety of internal and external members, including professionals outside of Mennonite Church USA organizations who can objectively evaluate the college’s policies, procedures and culture to help effect change.

The proposal to the board states that the hope is to create an environment where all members of the campus community feel safe and supported. “In this environment, measures are taken to educate and prevent sexual misconduct. In this environment, there is no shame or fear in reporting acts of abuse or misconduct. In this environment, victims’ safety, security and healing will be a top priority, which requires outside help. In this environment, our leaders will act swiftly when allegations arise.”

College administrators and board members have begun conversations with organizations that can provide insight and assistance, and are assembling a list of names of potential task force leaders and participants. The task force will begin meeting early in the fall 2016 semester.

“Much of our path forward will be determined after the group is formed and tasks are discerned,” said Mark Landes, vice president of finance and auxiliary services, who oversees human resources. “The bottom line is that it’s time for Hesston College to move, simply because it’s the right thing to do and creating a desired environment is critical to the future we hope for all of Hesston College.”

Updates and corrections

Update: The spring 2016 issue of the Hesston College Today shared a story about Katie Sowers ’06. Shortly after publication of the issue, Sowers announced she was selected to work with the Atlanta Falcons wide receivers through the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship, a National Football League (NFL) internship program. Sowers will be with the Falcons from July 24 through the second preseason game on Aug. 20. In 2015, this same program made Dr. Jen Welter famous for being the first female participant. Congratulations, Katie!

Correction: The spring 2016 issue of the Hesston College Today incorrectly reported the service organization with which a group of students, faculty and staff served during spring break in March. The group of 14 spent the week with i6eight in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. The organization’s name references Isaiah 6:8 – “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me.” Scott Swartzentruber ’91 and his wife Shannon are directors of the program.