What does community mean to me?
Growing up, I was told that in order to impact the world, you needed to first start with your community. I never knew what that meant. Living through the global pandemic was a tough battle—I struggled with the sense of being trapped. Not having a community to go to “in person” was hard, and I struggled mentally because of that constant mindset of being alone.
Going back to school in the fall was a blessing, especially since other schools weren’t able to. OKWU was more than just a school for me, and the people there were more than just my friends, professors, or peers. For me, OKWU became a family. Everyone spent time with each other and made others around campus feel connected. I’ve learned that community is more than just the group of people you surround yourself with. It’s an intentional group of people who support, encourage, and help you in your time of need.
I saw a group of people leaning on each other, building and supporting each other. I saw this generation craving community— I saw the need to feel loved, wanted, and supported.
– Joe Pena (Class of 2022)
I went through a lot of trials this past spring semester, and if it wasn’t for the community I had on campus, I wouldn’t have made it through. The students, professors, staff, and faculty took time to check on me and made me feel wanted and loved. Having people in my life that truly cared made me realize something about OKWU: this place is a community built on Christ.
But the community aspect goes even further than that.
This summer, I traveled with a team to different church camps across the country. What I saw was beautiful. For eight weeks we traveled, but it was the community we built as a team and family that got us through the summer. We were able to be vulnerable and lean on each other through our battles. I saw a group of people leaning on each other, building and supporting each other. I saw this generation craving community—I saw the need to feel loved, wanted, and supported.
This past year reminded me that we, as children of God, are not alone. It bears repeating.
We, as one body, are not alone.
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