GSPD leadership team focuses on expansion
In the coming year the GSPD leadership team will grow to reach more students. | Becky Mitchell/THE CHIMES
All across campus students have applied for leadership positions next year including Resident Advisors, Student Orientation Services leaders and Global Student Orientation Services leadership team. Although the amount of global students stays the same, GSPD hopes to reach more global students by increasing the number of teams and members.
“GSPD seeks to give global students a sense of belonging, a sense of home, while also enabling them to go out and go into the community and know they have a place to return to,” said Joey Bruce Ryan, sophomore English major and GSPD events team intern.
This year there are four teams: music and worship, community groups, communications and event planning. Each of the teams has a coordinator and five to six interns, all of whom are students. Next year there will be seven teams, including the existing teams with a name switch for communications to media and the events team will be split in two, one for bridging events and one for community. GSPD will also add two new teams for the office and graduate students. Overall, they will increase from 30 members on the leadership team to 40 members.
“There’s a lot of grad students from other countries, but because we’re so focused on undergrad they tend to miss out, but we want them to know we’re here for them if they ever need anything,” Ryan said.
Through being more intentional about including the graduate students, GSPD can easily reach out to other students next year, but they hope to reach out to all global students and the Biola community.
One of the ways GSPD reaches out specifically to global students is through their community groups. Each group meets once a week to help students transition to life at Biola and process things going on in their lives, big or small, Sanford said.
“Community groups exist as a safe space for identity processing and just going through daily life together … what they need is more of just like space to be real and talk about daily struggles, whether it’s culturally related or things that everybody goes through, it’s a safe space to do that with people you identify with,” said Maggie Blackburn, junior political sciences major and GSPD community groups intern.
Awareness & Inclusion
While GSPD is mostly for global students, through events and social media they aim to make non-global students more aware about other cultures. Through the bridging events, such as Wake Up Wednesday or Collegium Kick Back, the larger Biola community is included.
“Bridging events to kind of share their culture with other students at Biola, the domestic student body...we actually want domestic students and global students to get to know each other and know each other’s unique backgrounds and stories, we really seek to do some bridges between the two groups,” Sanford said.
As a whole the GSPD leadership team hopes to include more and more people, including the ways they reach out to people, such as a bond between GSPD and the Student Missionary Union.
“The point is for people to realize that the kingdom of God is not limited to our experiences, no matter where you’re from … you still only have the experience you have but when you get to interact with people who have different experiences then we can get a much more holistic picture of God’s character and his love for the entire world … so our goal is to be able to communicate that to the entire community,” Blackburn said.