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the Covenant experience narrative

The Blue Tribune is your place to learn about all things Covenant and keep up with stories from campus and beyond. By guiding you through the different aspects of Covenant, we'll help you decide if you want to pursue your very own Covenant experience.

Learning Well, Living Well

excited students at homecoming

Stroll the halls of the academic buildings at Covenant during any weekday, and you will hear a multitude of sounds: the rise and fall of professors’ voices as they share their excitement about the subjects they are teaching, the steady hum of conversations while students work on projects together, and scattered bursts of laughter because there is always plenty of good humor to go around. These are the sounds of teaching and learning.

Additional teaching and learning takes place outside of the classroom. Perhaps the best thing about a residential education is that learning is never limited to the few hours spent in class. Nor are students only learning about the subjects taught in their five or so classes. Rather, they are gaining knowledge about almost everything that makes up the totality of the human experience: they are learning about themselves and how they relate to others, they are considering what roles they may play now and in the future in God’s kingdom, and they are deepening their understanding of the gospel and what it means in everyday life. What does all of this look and sound like? There are hundreds of stories that could be told. We’re offering just a few.

The Center for Student Success

Far at the back of the second floor of the library, there’s a cluster of small rooms. This is where you’ll find the Center for Student Success, headed by Becca Moore. Becca acts as the air traffic controller, directing students to the best landing places: places where they can find whatever resources they need in order to learn well and thrive as students. Enter the main office, and you may see students partnered around the room. Through peer-to-peer partnerships, students explore how to better manage their time or more effectively study. In other rooms, students may be meeting with academic tutors for help with tackling a difficult subject. The center also works with students who learn differently so that they can receive whatever accommodations are needed to remove barriers to learning.

The team in the center understands that more goes into supporting student learning than offering study tips or giving assistance with tough homework. There are many reasons a student may be struggling with academic work, and team members meet one-on-one with students to find out exactly what they need. The goal? To enable every student who comes for help to flourish not only as they work to complete a college degree but also as they grow and mature as believers in Christ, learning in what ways they can explore and express the preeminence of Christ in all things.

Counseling Services, Priesthill Center

One of the landing places that Becca Moore may direct a student to is the Priesthill Center for Health and Counseling Services. Covenant has long offered counseling services to its students, but as of last year, there are two full-time counselors on campus, both of them alumni of the college: Mallory Dean ‘02, a master’s level counselor who has over 15 years of experience in the mental health field, specializing in crisis counseling, and Nicole Walter ‘06, a licensed therapist who has worked in the mental health field for over 10 years in both private practice and community mental health. As former students, they understand both the blessings and possible challenges of getting a Covenant education. In one-on-one counseling, students can find ways to reduce anxiety and strengthen coping mechanisms. They can also receive support to deal with a wide variety of issues that can affect their mental health and their ability to keep up with the demands of college life.

This fall, the Priesthill Center began offering a new option: single session therapy, providing students with a way to connect quickly with a therapist for one session, allowing students to easily access tools that can help them work through a single issue. Mallory and Nicole have also held workshops to enable faculty to better understand the mental health needs of students. The concern and care they have for students is one of the most important ways that Covenant supports the whole student: body, mind, and spirit.

Student Fun, Thanks to Student Leadership

There’s a lighter side to student support as well. Kelsey Bazzel works in student development as the coordinator of the newly renamed leadership program, “Planted.” She partners with RAs, members of the student senate, and student ministry coordinators to plan events that offer breaks from studying, the means to connect with fellow students, and multiple opportunities to celebrate and have fun. During the pandemic, she and student leaders had to be extraordinarily creative since many long-standing events had to be canceled. To everyone’s delight, all of the old favorites eventually returned. Whether it’s Kilter (a Sadie Hawkins-style costume party), “Sk80s,” a skate night with everyone in ‘80s attire, or Spring Fling, there are plenty of festivities to enjoy. As junior Sarah Holler explains, “We get to put everything aside and be together with both friends and people we haven’t seen in a while. We can just have a great time with no worries.”

The event she says is talked about year-round is Mistletoe Mingle. Every hall comes dressed in holiday attire (whether formalwear or Christmas pajamas), and the evening is spent in a “silent disco.” Every student is given a set of headphones that can be tuned into three different music stations. The headphones light up in red, green, or blue depending on which station you choose. If you notice that almost everyone around you is singing with their headphones tuned to green, then that’s the station you want to turn to as well! Needless to say, the event is not silent. There’s no band or DJ playing, but everyone is belting out the songs they’re hearing. It might be the best of all ways to end a semester.

Almost every week at Covenant brings another opportunity for students to “do life together,” whether it’s listening to the lively sounds of Jazz on the Overlook, admiring the crafts at the Bakertree Festival, or coming together as a clan to compete in the Highland Games. Truly, as Proverbs reminds us, “A joyful heart does good like medicine,” and the special events at Covenant are the best kind of medicine, alternately cheering or calming, cementing ties that can last from college into eternity. 

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