Washburn’s Day of Transformation was the topic on the agenda this past Thursday in Mabee Library. More than 20 presenters spoke about their time in the program and what it has done for their outlooks on life.
Rick Ellis, who directs both the community service portion of the transformational experience, and Learning in the Community, was one of the events main organizers. With help from the other transformation departments, Elllis scheduled the time blocks for presentations and helped students register their presentations. He also ensured the presentation day went smoothly.
The Day of Transformation brought an end to the many trips and tasks the students were involved in. Some of the presentations were done by students who had gone to Nicaragua to help pave a roadway that flooded during the rainy season. Others had gone to schools in other countries to teach children. The four areas for the Transformation Experience include community service, leadership, scholarly or creative activities and international education.
As presenters went up for their presentations, some had tears in their eyes. Students who had visited other countries spoke highly about how they learned not to take things for granted.
“It gives you a totally new outlook, going to another country,” said Cherri Storz, who spoke about going to Nicaragua. “Its led me more towards what I want to do now.”
For any students who started school after or concurrent with 2006, participating in the Transformational Experience is a requirement. Students who are on a tight budget or aren’t sure how much time they can devote to a project of this magnitude don’t have to worry about how they will pay.
“I had to pay about $750 for my trip,” said Michelle Cox, a senior who went to Jamaica to help teach children. “I was really worried because I didn’t have a lot of money to pay for it, but I got scholarships through my program to help me.”
Greg Mortenson, who was at Washburn to speak that night about his book “Three Cups of Tea,” had a chance to sit in on the Day of Transformation. When he referred to it in his speech later that evening, Mortenson spoke highly of the program.
“I think every university in the country should know what Washburn is doing with the [Transformational] Experience,” said Mortenson.
Each presentation lasted about 20 minutes. The number presentations is expected to grow each year, as more students are required to complete the program. Ellis expects that by this time next year, more than just Mabee Library will have to be used to hold all the presenters. He’s optimistic about what the program will do for those involved.
“I’m not going to say that everyone is going to experience a dramatic change through the program,” said Ellis. “But that is our hope – that it will have an impact on how the students perceive and view the world and their part in it.”