The Clarion spread out across Bethel’s campus April 26 armed with cameras, notebooks and tripods. Here’s a multimedia peek of 24 hours at Bethel.
By Clarion Staff
Dr. Stephen Self, a professor of music at Bethel University, played the organ in his cramped office that overflowed with sheet music he has acquired throughout his 18 years at Bethel. The symphonic chorale “Jesu, Meine Freude” by Sigfrid Karg-Elert echoed through the tranquil halls of the Clausen Center. Usually, only the night janitorial staff hear the angelic notes coming from his fingers as they dance across the ivory keys.
“I often stay this late because it’s usually pretty quiet,” Self said. “There aren’t usually any interruptions.”
Self, a night owl by nature, used to be just the opposite. By 10 p.m., he used to be in bed.
“It’s really funny to me because usually old people think about going to bed really early, but I’m just the opposite,” he said.
Self usually practices alone, but sometimes something eventful happens.
“Nothing strange really happens here at this time of night, unless if a fire alarm goes off,” Self said. “I’ll just keep playing until security comes by and tells me not to. No one ever does.”
Self started playing the piano at age four or five and thinks that might have something to do with his youthfulness.
“It’s a lot to ask four appendages to move fast and move together,” Self said as his feet moved quickly across the pedals of his older, slightly out-of-tune organ.
“The research I’ve seen talks about how music stimulates brain activity, so I hope that it keeps me young,” he said, grinning.
It’s 1 a.m. in the Clausen Center at Bethel University. Papers lay scattered across the surface of a table outside the music department. Sophomore Robbie Whitney crams into the late hours for a microeconomics test later. To him, this isn’t an unfamiliar routine.
“The good, hard studying waited until the night before,” Whitney said. “I’m a procrastinator, for sure.”
As a member of the Bethel Royals’ basketball team, Whitney was awarded the MIAC Elite 22 award, which honors student-athletes with the highest grade-point average on their respective teams. Also a two-time Dean’s List recipient with a 3.96 GPA, Whitney tries his best to balance his turbulent schedule.
“You’re here for academics. … You have to prioritize what you want to be doing,” he said.
Whitney wakes up, grabs breakfast from the dining center before heading to his job in The Loft. In between classes, he sets aside time to study and finish homework. He then prepares for team lifts, shootarounds and eats dinner. After all that, Whitney is drawn back to the quiet hallways of the CC to finish studying.
Freshman relational communications major Elizabeth Szilagyi walks back to Getsch Hall after making a 2:30 a.m. run to Cub for milk.“There are no longer the donuts deals at Cub, just to let you all know. But I got milk instead so it’s okay.”
For Szilagyi, it’s just a typical Tuesday night. “Normally, honestly, I am still up. I’m usually doing homework or I do often go on night drives if I can get a car.” If Szilagyi does homework it’s usually her life-span development homework or her perspectives discussion posts. She described her previous shift in the prayer tent as fun, and she encourages people to come and pray. She said that she loves walking around when nobody else is there.
Sophomore communications major Rebecca Simonsen makes waffles during the end of her shift at 3 a.m. for security. She enjoys having the late night shift of midnight to 4 a.m. and also adding on the shift of 8 p.m to midnight because she gets a lot of homework done and it’s usually pretty quiet and consistent.
“Oh I should close my Netflix tab so it looks like I’m doing work,” Simonsen said.
As someone in security, She opens the gate for drivers to come on to campus, but more often people use the outside lane to let themselves in. Usually, between midnight and 4 a.m., she’s not very busy, except for on weekends. She estimated between 20 or 30 cars come through the gate at night. When Simonsen is working on homework, she is usually studying biology or communications.
Not a soul is found at Bethel as the sun begins to lighten up of Kresge Courtyard. Once 5 a.m. hits the clock Ted Folkerts is the only worker found on Bethel’s campus.
Graduate missions and marriage counseling major Ted Folkerts gives up his sleep for work. Folkerts cleans the B.C. floors Monday through Thursday at 5 a.m. He not only gives up his sleep, but also his time.
Folkerts doesn’t mind waking up early to earn some money on the side. He puts his headphones in and watches the soapy water pour on the floor of the B.C. Folkerts continues in circles until the job is finished, usually taking an hour.
“It’s just me and another guy cleaning this early,” Folkerts said. “No one else is up this early.”
Leila Chalbi sets a tray of pastries on the counter of Royal Grounds at 6:46 a.m. As a barista, her mornings consist of preparing to open shop for the day.
In the emptiness of the BC, the only movement in the area comes from Chalbi and other employees setting up for the day ahead of them.
She arranges a variety of cakes, bread and other baked goods and places them on top of a cart stacked with trays in the back of the room.
Chalbi then grabs containers of donut holes from a silver pantry and sets them on top of the counter. She picks up a pencil and takes stock of the donuts on a sheet of paper.
“This is what we do to get ready to open in the morning,” she said.
Freshman psychology major Bethany Dahl sits at a table in the empty 3900 Grill and writes about her day ahead while listening to music.
She said she woke up early this morning to practice for her piano theory class, and decided to do some journaling after she finished before going to her 8 a.m. class.
“I get up pretty early because I’m a morning person,” Dahl said.
This particular morning, she woke up at 5:30 a.m., but she usually tries to get up later.
“The birds were pretty loud today,” she said.
Dahl likes to journal almost every day, and generally writes about her day, and what she looks forward to as well as what stresses her out, “kind of just to look at where I am emotionally,” Dahl said.
Bryce Murphy sits alone in Bethel University’s Dining Center finishing up the last bites of his orange-flavored muffin. When Murphy works in the morning for Sodexo, like his shift coming up at 9:20 a.m. this particular morning, he likes to take a mental break and eat breakfast before clocking in. Murphy hopes to move up the ladder of the Sodexo corporation, but for the meantime, he enjoys the jobs he performs now – like the salad bar, dish room and his favorite, beverage running.
Murphy explains some of the struggles that come with beverage running – like the coffee maker getting plugged. “It would be heavy sometimes, but we tray under it to get the water to cycle through,” Murphy said. “Otherwise it comes out and looks like chocolate syrup.”
Outside of his work, Murphy finds a passion in sports. His favorite sport to talk about is football and his favorite player is the Minneapolis miracle worker Stefon Diggs. Coming in second place is Chad Greenway. Murphy wishes he would’ve waited another year before retiring so he would’ve been 52-years-old for Super Bowl 52.
On the lone bench outside of the Brushaber Commons overlooking Bethel University’s picturesque Lake Valentine sits freshman Pisith Soeun, white ear buds plugged in and Young Life coffee thermos in hand.
“I like to be out here. I try to get out here every morning just to meditate, use headspace, and my phone. I try to do it for about 10 minutes,” Soeun said. “Maybe read the Bible after.”
With the business of a double major in Spanish and biology – and with the weather finally warming up – Soeun likes to take a minute outside with his thoughts before heading into his 11 a.m. lab. To Soeun, it’s a moment he can spend with God.
Growing up in a Buddhist household, Soeun learned a lot about himself when he was introduced into the Christian faith.
“I was very confused about all this Christianity stuff and whatnot,” Soeun said. “It got really interesting because it revealed a lot of truth inside of me. Then it kind of started to change me a little bit.”
Bekah Rockford, a Postsecondary Enrollment Options student, is sitting inside the Brushaber Commons by a window taking notes and watching a video for her nutrition test. Although Bekah is a full-time PSEO student she still is involved with activities at White Bear Lake Area High School. Bekah is the captain of her cross country team and also does track and field. Bekah also is involved with the National Honors Society at her high school. Bekah talked about the benefits and downfalls of being a PSEO student.
“It is free college and it is nice to experience college without needing to pick a college.” Bekah said.
“Living off campus and feeling like I am half of college and half of high school is not my favorite part of PSEO for sure.” Bekah said about her least favorite part of PSEO.
Bekah plans on majoring in Elementary Education and she is planning on attending Bethel in the fall for her freshman year.
For senior Victoria Snyder, her study abroad trip to Kenya at Daystar University in 2016 presented a well-rounded experience. She climbed through the extreme elements of Mount Kenya. She traveled throughout Mombasa and joined the university’s basketball team.
On the brink of graduation in May, Snyder shares her experience at her on-campus job in the study abroad office. Here, she is able to advocate for students to take their first steps in the study abroad opportunities at Bethel.
“I think it’s cool to work in an office where I can share my experience,” Snyder said.
Her biggest takeaway from the trip was the Kenyan culture’s value of relationships. Snyder explained frequently being late to class since other students would stop in the hallways and ask how their family is or their plans for the evening.
Overall, Snyder challenged herself to be present in her relationships at Bethel. She urges each student that feels anxious or worried to take a leap of faith and travel abroad in their four years.
“I’d say just go for it,” Snyder said. “It’s beautiful when you step out of your comfort zone and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
We all have a quiet place we go to in order to think, get work done, or just get away. For junior physics major Aidan Tollefson, it’s the Bethel Seminary. Tollefson likes the somber environment of the building because it allows him to study and think.
“I like the seriousness here,” Tollefson said. “There’s just a different atmosphere here. It feels like there’s a different gravity to what [seminary students are] studying.”
Seminary is separate from the rest of the classrooms on campus, and Aiden feels a big difference between the seminary and the rest of the main buildings.
“Bethel can often feel closed in, but the seminary feels like a different place altogether than the main campus.”
Studying isn’t all he enjoys doing here, however. He often visits a collection of antique maps to relax.
“I’m a big fan of maps,” Tollefson said. “I’ll just kind of sit and look at them, and it’s one of the few places indoors on campus that is really quiet, and you don’t run into very many people.”
A blistering sun does little stop Bethel freshman Peyton Gallagher from strumming his ukelele, singing to “Washed by the Water” as his friends hum along. The tune sounds across Freshman Hill, attracting the attention of several passerby. Gallagher is known by his participation “Getsch-pers,” a take on Vespers for members of Getsch Hall.
To his friends, his talents are expected, but for others, it can come as a surprise. A passion of Gallagher’s has always been baseball, and this afternoon, he would have been pitching, if it weren’t for the fact he needed a rest day. So here he was, spending his rest day outside, singing and putting smiles on the faces of his fellow residents. As a girl in cowboys walks by, Gallagher changes his tune. “I’m talking to you,” he sings, his friends laughing. “Girl in the cowboy boots!”
Laughter sounds across Kresge courtyard. It is three in the afternoon, the sun shining like a spotlight on Natalie St. John’s joyful face. Fellow freshman Willy Issa plays with silly putty, jokingly spinning and tossing the pink putty in the air.
After a few attempts to steal the putty, St. John reclines back in her chair and closes her eyes and puts on a pair of sunglasses. The warm afternoon light is blocked out by the tortoiseshell shades. She lifts her head to watch as Issa stretches out the putty, only to flail for it before it hits the ground.
Papers rustle and staplers click as sophomore communications student Jane Steinke manages the ticket office outside Benson Great Hall. Steinke hears the blaring of trumpets and banging of drums as she works, even through Benson’s doors are closed.
Since many of the previous student employees in the ticket office have graduated, Steinke serves in both the event and ticket offices. On a typical day, Steinke helps her supervisor answer calls, mail tickets and assist guests. A list of upcoming events hangs from the office wall to allow for a quick response to any customer questions.
Regardless of number of customers, Steinke busies herself by preparing for upcoming events both on and off campus. Celebration Church will host a concert this September, which Steinke said has been the busiest area of ticket sales.
“There’s a very popular concert coming up that just got on sale,” Steinke said. “Everyone wants the best seats or the best prices.”
Freshman communications student Rohan Suri bustles from the Monson Dining Center. Once he paused long enough to state his name and major, Suri described some changes he recently experienced. Less than 24 hours before dinner, Suri switched his major from business to communications.
On a smaller scale, Suri also altered his typical dinner schedule to better suit his evening activities.
“I wasn’t even hungry, but I just ate,” Suri said. “I had tomato soup with the pretzel crap on it, a side of spinach with cranberry sauce, some cottage cheese, and a glass of water.”
After rushing through his meal, Suri left to prepare for an International Justice Mission (IJM) event. Jo Lembo and Andy Johnson were invited to present TEDx talks in the Underground as a part of Justice Week.
Suri spent a considerable amount of time constructing introductions for the two speakers. As an advocate for IJM, Suri’s responsibility was to kick off the TEDx event. He shifted in nervousness at the thought of stumbling over any words.
“I made the introductions up myself,” Suri said. “I like smaller words that are more concise.”
Communications and theatre double major Dah Zar, gets ready for the upcoming performance of Waiting for Gadot, setting up lights and checking the sound systems. As the stage manager, she came to the theater early and prepped the prop table for the actors so that they didn’t lose track of them. Zar ran errands as well, making sure the cast had everything they needed.
“Last week, Two of the actors needed white hairspray, and they didn’t tell me until the day of, so they had me running,” she said. Zar warms the chicken and pours the grape juice in the wine bottle for onstage props before every performance.
Logan Lasley, a social studies education and philosophy double major, and Nathan Bajema, a nursing major, battle each other in a game backgammon. Lasley brought it from his dorm room to play in the Brushaber Commons. “We’ve played a fair amount but we also play chess and lots of billiards,” Bajema said.
Lasley explained that he and Bajema have started to play in Brushaber Commons more often. “We didn’t used to last year, but we’ve been playing quite a bit in the B.C.,” he continued. “You get to socialize, and people like to watch.”
Bethel University sophomore John Peterson brings his mind to ease by lifting weights almost every night in the Wellness Center.
“I decided to come in here to blow off some steam and get sweaty,” Peterson explains with a smile knowing he can get away from school for a bit. “I got a few more hours of studying ahead of me. I figured this would give me a little bit of energy to fuel my study session.”
Peterson comes to the Wellness Center often and has many interesting memories. “I look over and he was calling my name and his had hand blood all over it.” Peterson said. “He completely messed up doing something and broke his thumb.” Peterson’s friend had dropped the decline bench on his hand.
Bethel University sophomore Dan Marod along with his two other classmates prepare for some several exams coming up: pathophysiology, pharmacology and a nursing skills exam.
Marod doesn’t mind being one of few male nursing students at Bethel. “It’s nice to have a different community to be apart,” says Marod. “Usually I am around guys anyways, so it’s kind of nice to have a change.”
Transferring from St. Scholastica to Bethel University, Marod knew what his heart wanted. “I came and I transferred in after first semester of freshman year, so I kinda had a little bit of a different experience,” Marod said. “But I just kind of fell in love with the community – there is just such a strong presence of God that was felt here right away.”
Senior physics major Bryant Nelson quickly jots down equations for a mechanics test on a classroom window with a neon pink dry erase marker in a lab in the Academic Center. At 11:36 p.m., the department remained void of other students, but a fellow physics student accompanied Nelson, working in a similar manner on a separate whiteboard. Despite being a senior, he will not be graduating this year and will need another year for his major.
Nelson says he enjoys “learning material that makes sense and being able to learn advanced mechanics that goes beyond what I learned in high school.”
A wonderful way to show ‘a day in the life’ of the Bethel community. Great storytelling – thanks!