On Tuesday, April 15, about 30 Texas Wesleyan students assembled, in Baker Building, with representatives of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church-Dr. Melanie Overton, Dr. Pamela Balch and Ms. Tijuana Hudson-to discuss how the Wesleyan experience is improved by its affiliation with the Methodist Church, which occurs every 10 years through the UMC re-accreditation process.
SGA President, Kelsi Holland, several members of Wesleyan’s Mortar Board, and many other Rams spoke about how Wesleyan has impacted their lives and collegiate careers.
“One of the major reasons why I chose Texas Wesleyan was because I came from a smaller school, so the smaller school was a big appeal to me,” said Elijah Cumpton, religious life staff and former Wesleyan student. “But, I was also pursuing a career in ministry and I found that the religion department was really appealing. After I went through the program, I can say that it is, absolutely, an amazing department.”
Although Wesleyan’s smaller, smarter charm beckoned students like Cumpton, the university had to grow on other students. After hearing the former student explain his initial attraction to Texas Wesleyan, UMC Senate representatives heard from one of Wesleyan’s international students from Palestine.
“When I first came to Wesleyan, I didn’t like the school at all,” said Fez. “I wanted to transfer. I’m a junior now,” he said with a laugh. “One of the most important things that I’ve learned here is that everybody knows everything about everyone.
We’re all like a very big family. Everybody cares about everyone, and that’s one of the main reasons that made me change my mind. Smaller and smarter is actually very true.”
The UMC senate heard testimony from several students concerning their love of Wesleyan. But to balance the scales, the Senate wanted to see the other side of the coin. Dr. Melanie Overton asked students to share what they would change if they “could wave [their] magic wands.”
Students expressed several wishes, including: inclusion of concentrations on diplomas, more community outreach, more parking, and in appreciation of Wesleyan faculty and staff, updated offices. The all-inclusive wishes included things such as a Star Bucks and a healthy-choice eatery next to the Wesleyan bookstore.
Aside from a few items on their wish list, many students agreed that Wesleyan has provided an atmosphere conducive to not only scholastic growth but also non-discriminating spiritual growth.
“We are a religious based school, but we’re not exclusive,” Cumpton said. “We don’t just want everybody to join the Methodist club and be super Christians. We have room here for people of all different backgrounds to come and to know that there’s a really good, positive interaction that goes on.”
The UMC senate concluded its meeting with students to discuss the Wesleyan experience with faculty and staff.
In the end, the hope of Wesleyan representatives-faculty, staff, and students-was to continue the relationship with the UMC.
In the words of Wesleyan’s commander and chief, President Slabach, “Our relationship with the Methodist Church has been an essential part of who we are for 124-years, and we are committed to the future of that tradition.”