Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Into the Woods

When you are a poor college student it can be very difficult to find things to do that don't involve your college's campus. When you go to Bible School however, it can be extremely difficult to find ways to entertain yourself on campus. At Zion, other than the student union (which doubles as the chapel), the library, and the basketball court, there aren't really any places that boys and girls are allowed to mingle. No cross-mingling is allowed in the dorms, and the cafeteria is off limits except for at mealtimes.

We have all become frequenters of Starbucks, CVS, Walmart and the like. But with no money to part with, there is little point in going to these stores lately. With the weather as gorgeous as it has been, the great outdoors have become the newest form of entertainment. On Friday, my friend Mary and I went on an adventure to the J.C. Phillips Nature Preserve in  Wenham/Beverly. This is a place that I first found while GeoCaching (a story for another post...) last year at Gordon.

These woods are a beautiful place to have a lovely stroll and also see some cool ruins. The mansion was called Highover and was built in 1913. A fire in October of 1968 destroyed most of the building leaving behind only a few pieces of building to break up the forestry. Personally, I think the juxtaposition of crumbling mansion and bright graffiti is really appealing, but it also makes me wonder what it would have been like to visit Highover while it was still intact.

Below are both pictures that I took on Friday, and some pictures of Highmore before the fire that I found on the Flickr account for the Beverly Public Library.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Reimage. Or, Turning Garbage into Art and Barren Spaces into Displays.

When I arrived at Zion Bible College in August, I realized very quickly that Christians hate the environment. This realization was completely counter-intuitive for me. I have never personally hated the environment, and I would say that generally speaking, the people around me haven't either. Gordon College has a group called Advocates for a Sustainable Future, which is a part of a Christian environmentalist initiative, and makes great use of the slogan "If you love the creator, take care of His creation". That makes sense to me.

I was shocked when I arrived at Zion Bible College by the lack of, well.....anything environmentally friendly. There are literally NO recycling bins on the whole campus, they use Styrofoam at pretty much every chance they get, and there is no use of (or even desire to use) internet resources to promote paperless-ness. In fact, within the first week a boy at my lunch table who I otherwise consider to be a very kind person exclaimed with great enthusiasm, "I HATE THE ENVIRONMENT!" with complete sincerity. I was horrified. 

Another thing about tiny Bible Colleges is that they tend to lack resources such as bookstores. Although I know that bookstore prices are outrageous, when I had a store on campus that sold every single one of my textbooks, I didn't bother with ordering from online. At Zion, we have few other options. With everyone ordering their books, myself included, there was an overflow of cardboard boxes all stacked up in the mailroom to be thrown out. 

Because there were so many boxes that were soon to become landfill, I was inspired with my first act of originality; I painted several boxes with pretty pictures and designs and stacked them beneath my bed. I will admit that the designs on the boxes were not originals-- I am terrible at coming up with simple graphic designs all on my own-- but I did paint them all! That deserves a bit of credit, right? And I had the idea to put them on boxes under my bed. 

These boxes did a great job of hiding the eyesore cavern that a dorm bed reveals when placed parallel to the door, and also allowed me to keep duffel bags and things shoved back there without looking messy. All in all, quite the rewarding venture.