Community Gathering

Community Gathering series continues with speaker Tina Savas

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As a woman who does not like to work for others, entrepreneur, speaker and author of “Women of True Grit,” Tina Savas offered her thoughts on the topic of “Vision,” sharing her ideas on accomplishing goals and dreams for the future.

Freshman and member of Reinhardt’s Women Leadership Program Taylor Savas showed President Kina Mallard her aunt’s book, “Women of True Grit,” to which Dr. Mallard responded with a request to have Savas speak at the first Community Gathering event of the semester.

The event was held in Bannister Glasshouse on Wed., Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. and was sponsored by the first year leadership program.

Savas touched on three main ways people obtain vision, saying it is something one can be born with, something one can dream of or something that can fill a void. One of the main themes of the presentation was self-awareness, in which Savas explained was something that enabled people to know what they have in order to contribute to life. It also helps people find their strengths and weaknesses.

“My vision is for everyone to find their sense of purpose, because if you are not fulfilled on a daily basis when you wake up in the morning, you will not be happy,” Savas said. “And it’s not chasing money that’s going to get you there. And I dare say in our world, our tumultuous situation that we find ourselves in, a lot of that is due to people not having a sense of purpose.”

Specifically to college students, Savas’ advice was to take advantage of resources offered at school. “I would use every trick in the book at my disposal from my professors and my school because you’re not just paying tuition to learn, you’re paying tuition to work the system and get as much as you can. I find that a lot of students don’t do that.”

As a member of Reinhardt’s Women Leadership Program, freshman MaKayla Newell attended the Community Gathering and felt inspired by Savas’ words.

“I felt inspired to push past limits and walls that society has created for women,” said Newell. “I also feel like we need to be willing to bring up the injustices no matter what they are, because there will be no change unless someone has the courage to stand up for what is right.”

Future Community Gathering events include:

Feb. 22 Perspectives: Black History Month Program

March 22 Josh Martin, Award winning Social Media Specialist/Senior Director, Digital and Social Media for Arby’s

April 12 End of Year Program TBD

Written by: Jordan Beach.

Sachi Koto returns to Reinhardt for fourth Community Gathering

Sachi Koto
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Sachi Koto, a former CNN anchor and Reinhardt alumna, spoke to a crowd of students, faculty and staff Nov. 2 in the Falany Performing Arts Center as part of the Community Gathering Series. Her presentation included an overview of her own personal history and how it affected barriers that she overcame later on in life.

Koto mentioned the event’s sponsor, Reinhardt’s Women’s Leadership Program as a key motivator to return to speak at the school.

“I have opportunities to come back often, for this and that, but it really intrigued me, because I’m so excited and so proud that the University has a woman at the helm. I think this is going to open up a lot of different opportunities, and we saw it today, where she has the Women’s Leadership program,” Koto said.

Koto began her presentation with some historical background on her own life. She is the daughter of two Japanese-Americans, and being raised in Georgia following the events of Pearl Harbor, she faced a lot of bigotry and hatred for her cultural heritage.

“I virtually put myself in the back of the bus with the other ‘colored’ people. I accepted being second-class, but I also hated myself,” Koto recalled, adding that she remembers telling her brother that she “wanted to die,” Koto said.

She told another story of a teacher that quite literally pointed her out in front of the class during a discussion of Pearl Harbor, and repeated over and over, “those d— sneaky Japs.”

After Koto said that her mother said that the word “Jap” was impolite, the teacher sent her out to the hallway, where another teacher comforted Koto and explained that she would have to be the one to forgive her teacher, for the teacher’s child had been killed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Koto highlighted this moment as one that impacted her thinking as the time when she realized that she would have to be the one to forget about her teacher and her hatred.

Her father also intervened at the time and told her how lucky she was to have heritage of two countries, rather than just one.

“You should love America, because you’re an American citizen,” her father would say, Koto emphasized that this statement came from a man that spent almost three years in an American internment camp.

By high school, Koto had friends and was even homecoming queen. She explained that the nurturing of her family’s housekeeper and her father was a primary reason for this turnaround in her life.

In 1974, her career began in radio, and quickly transitioned to television in 1975. There were not many women in either field, so Koto was somewhat of a trailblazer.

She spent almost a decade working on different shows in Atlanta and in Japan, before beginning her time with CNN Headline News, a job which she continued for sixteen years.

A year before her retirement in 2005, she attended Reinhardt and graduated as the valedictorian in 2004 with a B.A. in Communication.

As her presentation wrapped up, Koto encouraged students to pursue and refine their communication skills, citing a study that highlighted the importance of these skills in career advancement. Public speaking has become the focus of Koto’s career after she retired from television.

The fifth and final installment of Reinhardt’s Community Gathering series for the semester is scheduled for Nov. 16 and will be held in FPAC at 1 p.m. The speaker will be Rev. Ted Goshorn, who will be leading a Thanksgiving service.

 

Written By: Thomas May. Photo By: Thomas May

Reinhardt’s Community Gathering continues with second lecture

Dr. David Gushee
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With continuous stories in the media regarding racial injustices and how they are being handled, Dr. David Gushee’s lecture at the second Community Gathering was delivered with an important element of relevance.

Attendance at the event was considerably stronger than the first community gathering. While many students attended out of requirement, they showed no lack of interest in how to make Reinhardt a campus of equal opportunity as several students asked how they could personally contribute to the issue.

Gushee’s lecture entitled “The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice in America” was held in the FPAC on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and began with a prayer and included a 30-minute talk followed by an open discussion. The lecture covered the topic of racial reconciliation and the ideals of a racially just society discussed in the Bible and how those ideals compare to the way America’s history has proven to be systematically racialized. Gushee offered three ways to help people turn society into a place that is racially just.

The lecture highlighted three main points, the first one being that the Bible offers examples of racial justice. Gushee went on to discuss the history of slavery in America and pointed out the various times in our country’s history where slavery could have ended. When bringing the discussion to modern racial injustices and how to personally deal with them, he noted that God was not about race, but about love and inclusion. 

His second point focused on the origin of racism in the United States. He explained how the corruption of racial misunderstanding was one of the most dangerous sins. Gushee said slavery is the cause of today’s “race-based culture.”

Gushee’s final point focused on three basic ways people could make society less racially based. He said people:

  1. “Can learn to tell and face the truth”
  2. “Need to overcome our blindness to the reality of systemic racism”
  3. “Need to continue to seek the beloved community of racial justice”

Junior Adrienne Lawrence attended the Community Gathering because she is apart of the Multicultural and Inclusion group, and the group attended the event in lieu of a meeting. Lawrence said she believes Gushee helped to address the root of racial injustice and that these discussions are beneficial for bringing forth these kinds of topics.

“They allow an opportunity for students who want racial injustice to be discussed in their community and addressed among their fellow students,” Lawrence said. “Lectures like these also provide a chance for students who want more understanding of the conflicts in the world a safe opportunity to express their curiosity and receive answers.”

Dr. Gushee has either written or edited a total of 21 books on American Christianity and has a book called “Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends” coming out in Fall 2016.

The remaining three Community Gathering events for the fall semester are:

  • Oct. 19 Audrey Haynes, an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia, will present “Media Influence on Voters’ Behavior.”
  • Nov. 2. Sachi Koto, Former CNN news anchor, Reinhardt alumna and valedictorian will present “Breaking Barriers: First Female Asian on-air Talent in the Southeast.”
  • Nov. 16. Rev. Ted Goshorn, Reinhardt University Minister to Students, will present “Thanksgiving Community Worship.”

 

Written By: Jordan Beach. Photo By: Jordan Beach

Reinhardt launches “Community Gathering” series

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The premier event in Reinhardt’s “Community Gathering” initiative launched this week with mixed success, but great hope for the future of the series.

Faculty, staff and students gathered in the Falany Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Sept. 14 to hear Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Roberts, present “Rooted Cosmopolitanism: Placing Yourself in the World.”

Roberts introduced the concept of Rooted Cosmopolitanism and explained his hopes that the Reinhardt community might adopt these ideas as a way to frame our purpose and how we approach the world as citizens.

“Rooted Cosmopolitanism is a concept that I think describes what many people feel here at Reinhardt and probably across the world,” Roberts said. “I’m hoping that by talking about Rooted Cosmopolitanism that we’ll all be able to have the same language to describe how we feel about our citizenship in the world and our citizenship in local places.”

Reinhardt senior Justin Hawkins found Dr. Roberts’ message to be powerful.

“In general, as a community, we need to learn how to come together as a group of people and not let any other type of barriers get in the way of people who enjoy being around other people; during class or anywhere out in the world in general,” Hawkins said.

Roberts presented a condensed version of his presentation to allow time for the audience to engage in conversation. Following questions and comments about the presentation by several faculty members, Reinhardt University President, Dr. Kina Mallard, expressed her satisfaction that the faculty members were able to demonstrate for the students how people can engage with new information, something that is part of the overall vision for these events.

“This is the group right here, that this is designed for,” Mallard said as she pointed to a group of students in attendance.

The majority of the students were part of an Intercultural Communication course that attended with their professor. Turnout of students attending of their own volition was lower than anticipated by the leadership team.

Dr. Mallard expressed her hope that the number of students who attend these events will grow with time as they learn more about the series.

“It’s new and nobody really knows what it is or what it’s for,” Mallard said.

Dr. Mallard asked attendees for suggestions on how to inform students about the intent of this new series. These talks, according to an email sent on Sept. 13 by Dr. Mallard, are, “An opportunity for all of us to gather together, in community, for 45 minutes, to help fulfill our mission of growing intellectually, socially, personally, vocationally, spiritually and physically.”

Four more Community Gathering events are planned for this semester and planning is in the works for the spring series. The fall semester schedule is:

  • Sept. 28. Dr. Davis Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology & Public Life at Mercer University will present: “The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice in America”
  • Oct. 19 Audrey Haynes, a Professor at the University of Georgia, will present: “Media Influence on Voters’ Behavior.”
  • Nov. 2. Sachi Koto, Former CNN news anchor, Reinhardt Alumna and Valedictorian will present: “Breaking Barriers: First Female Asian on-air Talent in the Southeast.”
  • Nov. 16. Rev. Ted Goshorn, Reinhardt University Minister to Students will present, “Thanksgiving Community Worship.”

 

Written By: Aaron Simmons and Madeline Hervey. Photo Credit: Aaron Simmons