Nov. 6, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) School started only a month ago, but La Sierra University’s freshmen, its largest group in three years, has proven a high-energy, well-prepared bunch intent on spiritual and social involvement.
“I think the perfect example of that is the amount of freshmen that are active currently with worships, clubs and Senate. It seemed to me that every time I go to worship the worship team consists of at least a couple freshmen,” said Samuel Limbong, president of the Student Association of La Sierra University, or SALSU.
He continued, “SALSU Senate this year has 10 freshmen out of 20 possible seats, an example of the new class’s desire to get involved. The freshmen are definitely active this year and my goal is to keep that fire going throughout the year.”
“There’s a genuine sense of community with this group of students. And it seems like it resonates throughout the campus body,” commented Kevin Kim, academic coach with La Sierra’s Center for Academic Success.
Freshmen got a jumpstart on the new year with the three-day IGNITE orientation just before classes began on Sept. 21. More than 300 entering students converged on campus. IGNITE activities included student ‘family group’ meetings, the traditional Hello Walk to meet campus administrators and faculty, a pancake feed, barbeque lunch and iPhone/iPod giveaways in the “Black Gold” program (see related story in LSU’s news archives).
IGNITE leaders rallied the freshmen and spurred their involvement in university life, Limbong said. “IGNITE was full of energy. I think the family group leaders did a phenomenal job getting the freshmen on the right feel coming to college.”
Following a week of faculty and staff colloquia, La Sierra formally kicked off the new year on Sept. 24 with its annual convocation, a spiritual and uplifting ceremony filled with music, prayer, hundreds of backpack-laden students and rows of faculty outfitted in flowing academic regalia.
La Sierra University President Randal Wisbey, in a keynote address, charged students and the campus family to live out Jesus’ admonition, given during the “Sermon on the Mount,” to let their lights shine before others.
“At the beginning of this new school year, like those listeners in Galilee so many years ago, we live in a time that is all-too-often morally bankrupt and overwhelmingly selfish, a world that seems dark,” Wisbey said.
“As we listen to Jesus’ call to live as light, it is impossible to escape the reality that light is powerful, it is revealing, and it cannot be easily hidden. …It is also clear that as Jesus uses this word, it is active. It involves making decisions. To be light is to live with purpose,” he said.
“There are many ways you will be light this year,” the president continued. “You will serve in student missions overseas, you will participate in service-learning projects here in Riverside, and you will bring food to your roommate when they are sick. You will listen to others as they speak, you will be intellectually curious, you will tutor children, work in shelters, and you will hold a friend’s hand while they worry about a paper or a test. And as you do these things, you will be taking seriously the words of Jesus. You will be living as light.”
He referenced a tale about a young Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist and playwright, who watched a lamplighter “punch holes” in the darkening Edinburgh night by lighting gas lamps. In closing, Wisbey used the illustration to challenge students to light the world with their enthusiasm, resolution, knowledge, wisdom, love, justice and service. “La Sierra University, I call you to punch holes in the darkness!” he exclaimed.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University