Fall 2016, Issue #3

Sep 15, 2016

New Beginnings: A Greeting from Our Vice President of Student Life

New beginnings are often memorable, for many reasons. They are typically filled with mixed emotions – excitement and joy for what will be and oftentimes sadness or longing for what has ended. I experienced a similar transition to many of our new students this year when I left my position after 25 years in University Admissions to become Vice President for Student Development. I felt the joy and anticipation of joining the work of new coworkers who are daily contributing to students flourishing, while also feeling the deep sorrow of leaving my previous job and having reduced contact with people I love.

With nearly a month into the semester, as your students are beginning to feel the impact of their recent transition, I thought it would be good to pass along to you what I shared with them during orientation weekend. This has been the framework of my prayers for your students as they begin this next chapter.

As you reflect on your past (the good, the bad, the ugly) recognize that your past does not have to define you. You don’t have to be burdened by past failures; neither should you rest on past successes. At this point in life, most people have not only experienced great joy but have also been through some pretty tough things as well. The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:13, “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” We are so glad that you are here at Biola, and we look forward to journeying with you, like those family  and friends who have been a support for you up to this point.

The second thing that I want to share with you is a reminder that you were created in God’s image and, as such, you have invaluable worth. In other words, you don’t have to try to be someone great or do something great in order to have value in God’s eyes. Most people have a mistaken understanding of God in this way. He takes us as we are and works with us to make us more like Christ rather than waiting for us to become good in order to be accepted by him. In God’s kingdom, you don’t have to prove your worth. By faith, you accept Christ’s finished work on the cross as your worthiness. Read 1 Corinthians 1:25-30 when you have time for more on this.

Lastly, the reality is that life may appear redundant, and that is okay. You began this new chapter at Biola, and it was exciting and fresh. After a time, however, you may begin to feel like it's very similar to your life before. There is repetition, a daily routine. Get up, brush your teeth, make your bed, get ready for school, work, etc. Come home, eat dinner, read, study, watch a movie, etc. I want to encourage you to learn to embrace the routines of life. There is something to be said for the person who goes to their job every day, attends classes, volunteers at their church and is there for friends and family. That stability is a sign of life, not lifelessness. Read what author and theologian GK Chesterton said about routine: “… For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.”

As your daughters and sons begin this new semester, I recognize that there may be some mixed emotions–hopefully, mostly positive! I trust you will take these three thoughts as a prayer for your student. I truly believe their best days are ahead of them!

André Stephens

Roommate Conflict? How to Guide Your Student

By Sandy Hough, Associate Dean of Residence Life and Student Care

It is hard to believe we are about to finish the fifth week of the fall semester. For some of our students, they are just beginning to hit their stride, successfully navigating courses, friendships and college life. For other students, they are struggling, beginning to wonder what to make of this “college thing.”

Over the past 20 years, I have observed that one of the most difficult relationships to navigate is that of a college roommate. Perhaps over the past few weeks, you have heard comments like, “I cannot believe how different my roommate is than me. Didn’t they read my housing application, you know the one that listed my preferences?” Or maybe a comment like, “My roommate is exactly like me. We eat the same food, have the same sleep patterns, and even can share clothes. It is perfect.” Or maybe you have heard a comment a little more like, “You know my roommate and me, kinda just co-exist. He does his thing, and I do mine.” The reality is that for most residential students, they will encounter some “roommate issue” during their college years. 
So what can YOU do to support your child through a roommate conflict? 

Below are a few tips to consider:
1. Listen
You are usually the first person your son or daughter will talk to about roommate problems. Provide a space for them to process their frustrations.
2. Ask good questions
Ask: “Does your roommate know what is bothering you?” If they have initiated with the roommate, you could ask if they have talked with their RA. Sometimes a third party helps bridge a gap and translates a situation.
3. Affirm
Sometimes the best roommate isn’t your best friend. A good roommate is one who respects you as a person and supports whatever needs you have for your home away from home.

If and when Residence Life becomes involved, we use the following approach:
1. We will not take sides but seek resolution.
2. We will not facilitate a room change until a conversation has occurred between the students and a professional staff member.
3. If room change is necessary, Residence Life will work with Housing to provide options.

We wholeheartedly believe any roommate situation is an opportunity for growth and learning. 
From a practical standpoint: Should your son or daughter find themselves struggling with a roommate conflict, direct them to their Resident Advisor (RA) first and their Resident Director (RD) second.  

Another Year in the Top-tier

Another year equipping men and women in mind and character is in the books, and we have another U.S. News and World Report ranking to be proud of. For more than 20 years Biola has been ranked as a best national university and in recent years has moved into the first tier, making us one of only three Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) schools to be ranked so highly.

In the words of Dr. Corey, “Biola University's position within the top tier of national universities on the U.S. News rankings is an affirmation of the work we have done to strengthen our academic programs and reputation while continuing in our Christ-centered mission.”

You can read more about Biola’s 2016-17 rankings in the latest Biola News article here.

Why Undivided? Spiritual Development Discusses University Theme

Each year Biola’s spiritual development team prayerfully considers the theme that will set the tone for orientation, chapels and more. This year, Dr. Todd Pickett and his team chose to center the university around Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

The Psalmist in 86:11 was requesting what Jesus would later teach in the Sermon on the Mount. According to Pickett, in the Sermon on the Mount “Jesus sought something that is still there after you scratch the surface, something there when no one is looking, something less fragile, more sturdy. Jesus wanted something whole, something undivided. This is the character of the kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount.” 

You can read more about the discussion that went into choosing the theme here and watch the first Word Chapel of the year led by Dr. Pickett here.

Investing in Creativity and Entrepreneurship

September 19th marked the official kick-off and opened registration for the annual Biola Startup Competition. Each year the Crowell School of Business invests time, resources and finances into the brilliant minds of our current students and our recent graduates. Unlike NBC’s Shark Tank, participants not only get to vet their ideas before professional business men and women for support but are required to attend workshops that will take projects from concept to implementation. If your student has dreams of entrepreneurship in the next few years, they will not want to miss this excellent opportunity. Registration closes October 10th.

Learn more about past winners, eligibility and competition details here.

Important Fall Commencement Information

Biola’s Fall 2016 Commencement Ceremonies will take place on Friday, December 16, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Instead of dividing the two ceremonies by Undergraduate and Graduate programs, they will be determined by the graduating student’s academic program or school within the University. In the month of October, an announcement will be made about which schools will participate in the 2:00 p.m. ceremony and which schools will participate in the 7:00 p.m. ceremony. Mandatory graduating student rehearsals for both of the ceremonies will take place on the morning of Commencement.

Families of graduating seniors can also save the date for Undergraduate Baccalaureate on Thursday, December 15, at 7:00 p.m. in Calvary Chapel.

Don’t forget! Biola Family Weekend 2016

Come and experience a weekend at your student’s home away from home. You’ll get the chance to hear from their faculty, watch their fellow students at Punk’n Pie, explore downtown LA and even run a 5k benefitting student affordability… and so much more!

Register for the weekend by visiting our events page here.



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