For the record

Alexander Kautaradze, junior

“I’m looking forward to this semester ending so I can study abroad in Oxford, England.”


Julie Salerno, first-year

“Challenging myself with balancing my time.”

 

Chanise Glover, senior

“Meeting new people.”


Cliff Gilbert, first-year

“Hanging out in Philly a lot.”

Christian Przyblek helps refugees in Philadelphia

The question of what to do with one’s life upon graduation usually elicits some variation of, “I have no idea.” Instead of waiting for that fateful day to express similar sentiments, senior Christian Przybylek has decided to take the road less traveled. This year before he graduates, Przybylek will be managing and maintaining a refugee house in north Philadelphia.

Welcoming House, which is a working name for the program, will provide temporary housing for refugees seeking political asylum, survivors of torture and other immigrants. Przybylek hopes that Welcoming House will be a place for these people to eat and sleep until they are placed in permanent housing. Przybylek will be the program’s housing director with Robert Hornak, an Eastern graduate, as his assistant.

This “refugee bed and breakfast” as Przybylek puts it, will provide its occupants with a room and “culturally appropriate meals.” Przybylek will be responsible for managing the house, cooking meals and preparing rooms for the new residents.

“The majority of those coming into Welcoming House are Iraqi, Burmese and Sudanese,” Przybylek said. The State Department, working in conjunction with the Nationalities Service Center, refers such clients directly to Welcoming House. 
Przybylek describes his job as both “depressing and rewarding.”

“To see them make a home and to succeed, and to see some semblance of hope is the most rewarding part,” Przybylek said.

Despite the 35-minute commute from the agency’s location on Gratts Street in Philadelphia, Przybylek plans to maintain his full-time status as a student here at Eastern and to graduate in May 2010. His plans for after graduation may still include the refugee house, but may also provide something in the way of graduate school or even the Peace Corps.

Przybylek’s political science major, though helpful in such endeavors as these, was not what drew him to this cause.

As his chief inspirations, Przybylek cited his time spent studying abroad in Uganda, a country currently engaged in civil war, and his father’s immigration to the US after WWII.
Przybylek’s first knowledge of the program came last summer when he did his internship with the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia.

Welcoming House exists under the umbrella of a larger refugee resettlement agency called the Nationalities Service Center. The NSC services about 4,000 clients per year from 90 countries.
 

To learn more or to contribute to the Welcoming House cause you can e-mail Christian Przybylek at xtianprz@gmail.com.

Slininger works in Uganda all summer

After junior Katy Slininger finished her semester studying abroad in Uganda, she made the decision to stay and work there throughout the summer.

Slininger worked with Emmanuel International after her pastor suggested that she get involved with it. This organization offers counseling to widows, former child soldiers returning from the war and elderly individuals.

In the beginning of the summer, Slininger worked agriculturally by distributing seeds to families so that they could learn to farm for themselves.

However, northern Uganda soon went into a drought and famine, bringing her efforts to an end, and Emmanuel International started food distribution.

Slininger took part in raising money to purchase food and to distribute it to the internally displaced person camps around the area. She also worked with the United Nation World Food Programme and had meetings with the UN and Uganda government officials to discuss how to reach the most people.

 While working with Emmanuel International Slininger lived in a two-story hut located in Pader, Uganda. She was the only white person in the town and the very first American to stay there.

“Pader had nothing,” Slininger said. “It was completely underdeveloped.

“Pader is in a unique situation from other parts of the country, even from neighboring districts,” she said.

There was no comfort or security, no electricity and water had to be drawn from wells. According to Slininger, “It was so bad it was almost stereotypical.”

She explained that although she never suffered while living in Pader, it was emotionally difficult for her.

“When you’re with people and everything is a fight, the length of each day is filled with importance,” Slininger said. “It can make days at home seem boring and unimportant.”
Before Slininger became involved with Emmanuel International, she took part in the Uganda Study Program. Through this program, students can study abroad at Uganda Christian University, run by American Mark Bartels.

“The study abroad program is wonderful,” Slininger said.

Slininger was one of the 40 to 50 American students attending the University last semester. For the majority of the time she lived on campus, however she also lived with two different families.

Though she did attend normal classes such as theology and read books written by author Shane Claiborne, Slininger took trips away from the school to study genocide with the other students.

Unlike other students, when the semester ended Slininger did not return home. She knew there was war going on with the Lord’s Resistance Army in North Uganda and she refused to leave the country without visiting that area. She was not admitted to travel there while enrolled in the study program, which is what influenced her to stay longer and become involved with Emmanuel International.

“I’ve become way more independent because of this experience, and because there were not people or things there to comfort me I learned to completely rely on God for comfort and security,” Slininger said. “I want everyone to know that the Ugandans are doing so much for their country. They’re strong people going through a lot and they really need our prayers!”

Turner proves it is never too late for college

Sophomore Timothy Turner is experiencing dorm life in Sparrowk Hall at the age of 59.

He graduated from Thomas A. Edison High School in Philadelphia in 1969 and then served with the United States in the Vietnam War before getting married on June 13, 1970.

His wife Yolanda Turner has no objection to Timothy Turner’s education at Eastern. She is currently raising their 15-month-old granddaughter at home. Turner visits her on weekends.

Turner’s father wanted him to attend Lincoln Prep after he graduated High School. “I wasn’t ready before,” Turner said. “I was a ‘C’ student and I didn’t think college was important.”

Later, while working as a prison guard, Turner felt he was lacking something.

He started attending Eastern in The City in 2008 and did well during his first year. Two of Turner’s professors at EIC, Omar Barlow and Jeanine Barlow, inspired him to attend and reside at the St. David’s campus.

Although he had many anxieties, these professors encouraged him to further his education here.

“I was scared that other students would look at me and say, ‘What’s this old guy doing here?'” Turner said.

His experience has been much different than what he thought it would be. Turner finds the students on campus to be “very respectful” and “hospitable.”

“I’m the first boy to go to college in my family,” Turner said. This explains his drive and positive attitude as he works hard to graduate with a double major in theology and history. After graduation, he plans to get his master’s degree at Palmer Seminary.
In his spare time Turner likes to work out in the gym. He also has a job at the University of the Arts as a security guard.

Turner’s advice for other hard-working students at Eastern is to “don’t take this for granted. Take advantage of whatever’s available to you (and) persevere. Just keep going.

“Don’t be afraid of me,” Turner said. “I’m glad that I’m here and if any students want to talk to me, I’m willing to talk to them.”
 

Students receive warm welcome at Ramadan feast

A dozen Eastern students chose to spend their Saturday evening on Sept. 12 at a different type of celebration.

As part of his Heritage of Islam class, Dr. Andrew Bush takes some students to Villanova’s Foundation for Islamic Education each year to experience Ramadan firsthand.

The feast began immediately after the fourth of five prayer cycles, which occurs daily at sunset. The fourth prayer cycle also marks the end of fasting each day during Ramadan.
Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the 30-day celebration. Nothing can enter their mouths, which means no water or chewing gum.

After breaking their fasting by eating dates and drinking milk or juice, the group entered into prayer.

Junior Alexander Kautardze, an international student from Georgia, chose to participate in the prayer session.

“It’s actually a really great experience because it helps one connect with the people,” Kautardze said.

After the prayer, the group moved to a neighboring gymnasium for the Ramadan feast that included lamb, chicken, rice and baklava.

While eating, the students mingled with the Muslims, who eagerly answered questions about their faith and practices.

Cindy Elayoubi, a graduate student at Temple, said her family moved to the United States from Egypt before she was born.

The main difference, Elayoubi said, is that when it is Ramadan in the Middle East, everything adjusts. Schools do not begin until after Ramadan and work shifts are shortened.

Many Muslims begin partaking in Ramadan before they reach puberty, with many eager to share that they can fast for an entire day.

“The youth are very proud of their, faith, which is surprising,” senior Chris Hamilton said. “Christian youth aren’t always as proud and devoted to it. As a youth ministries major, it was cool to see.”

Photo Caption Contest

Take a nice long look – then tell us what you think is going on in this photo.

Click on the photo to see the full size image.

Send your cutline for “No Blood, No Foul” (top right photo) to thewaltonian@gmail.com by Sept. 21. The editorial staff will carefully deliberate over every entry and chose the best one. All entries must include your name and year. The winner will be published in our Sept. 30 issue, appear online and receive a $10 gift card to either Starbucks, Wawa or Blockbuster.
If you have a crazy photo, send it to us for future contests.

So, tell us, what exactly IS happening here?

 

Congratulations to first-year Jay Renfro for his winning caption (see bottom right photo)

How do faculty spend their summers?

Dr. Stephen Gatlin, professor of history, spent one week of the summer vacationing on the coast of Delaware and the remaining months in a state of deep concentration, tuning out any distractions from the hefty texts in front of him.  German nature philosophy and the Beatles kept him occupied, reading 5 lengthy books on the subjects in preparation for this semester’s classes. “What I’ve been doing during the summer is more difficult than what I do during the year!” Gatlin said. These two courses fall under the category of “unusual and sometimes arcane courses” that he enjoys teaching even if it means sacrificing his summer hiatus.

Gatlin is grateful that the university “allows me to teach to my strengths and my interests and my passions.”  He said there has never been a course at Eastern in nature philosophy. 

“I’ve always been vaguely fascinated by it,” he said of the subject that he describes as “romantic” and “irrational.”  Gatlin admits that nature philosophy is “the most difficult subject I have ever encountered.”

In order to properly teach the students, he said, “I had to get down into the trenches and understand it.”

Schelling, the German philosopher mainly responsible for this area of philosophy, “often wrote incoherently and inconsistently,” Gatlin said.  His philosophies have become recognized in the category of “loser” history of science because it did not lead to modern science.  Gatlin, however, finds this fascinating: “I find loser history of science as interesting as winner history of science.”

While philosophy of nature draws a more limited student interest, the Beatles class will be filled to capacity.

“I think they were very bright guys, especially at their age,” Gatlin said of the four band members.

“They changed our society in some new ways,” he said. “Whether for better or worse, it is hard to say.”

None of the Beatles attended university and none of them could read a note of music, Gatlin said, yet “They were witty, witty in terms of smart and savvy.”

The Beatles class will focus mainly on John Lennon, whose extensive biography Gatlin read this summer.  While he continues to appreciate Lennon’s talent, Gatlin said, “The more I read of this biography, the less I sympathize with John Lennon.”

“They were everything as a unit,” he said of the Beatles. “The sum was far greater than the parts.”

Describing the preparation it takes to teach such a class, he said, “The amount of literature on the Beatles is now rivaling that of Shakespeare.”

For the record

Dr. Joselli Deans
Associate Director of Dance

Dr. Joselli Deans spent part of her summer working on her Faith in Learning Paper, which is part of the tenure process. Her paper, focused on dance ministry, contains “a theological explanation of ministry with a presentational understanding of dance.”


Dr. Christine Bayles-Kortsch
Professor of English

“This summer I completed final revisions on my book, Dress Culture in Late Victorian Women’s Fiction: Literacy, Textiles, and Activism. It will be coming out with Ashgate Press this October.”


Dr. R.J. Snell
Professor of Philosophy

Writing was one of Dr. Snell’s main vocations over the summer. He completed numerous academic articles and a chapter for a book. 
He also attended a two-week workshop on political philosophy at Princeton University and taught at a camp in Virginia.

 

Dr. Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen
Chair of Psychology Department

“I was in Geneva; it was the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth,” Dr. Van Leeuwen said. She and her friends visited the International Museum of the Reformation, enjoying 3-D portrayals of Calvin, before they drove across the border to France.