Articles Student Profiles

CMU student records announcements for the Canada Summer Games

CMU student Jason Friesen recorded PA announcements for the Canada Summer Games.

If you attend the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg this summer, chances are good that you’ll hear Jason Friesen’s voice.

This past spring, Jason recorded announcements that will be broadcast over the PA systems at venues throughout the games, which start tomorrow (Friday, July 28).

The announcements endorse the companies and organizations that are supporting the games, and also let spectators know things like where they can buy merchandise and how they can connect with the games on social media.

Jason, who completed his fourth year at CMU this past April, has some prior recording experience, thanks to taking the Media Workshop class with David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media at CMU.

The class teaches students how to research, write, and record interview segments for broadcast on the radio and internet.

Jason worked with Balzer, recording engineer Darryl Neustaedter Barg, and Canada Summer Games Host Society media relations consultant Monique Lacoste to record the English version of the announcements at the studio in Mennonite Church Manitoba, which is located next to CMU’s Shaftesbury campus.

CMU students Emily Hamm, Jason Friesen, Thomas Friesen, and Canada Summer Games Host Society media relations consultant Monique Lacoste pose for a picture in the recording studio.

Recording the announcements was a fun experience, Jason says.

“It feels like a different level when it’s going to be broadcast in venues across Winnipeg and people from across Canada will hear it,” he says.

“It really makes you focus on what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, that you’re doing it right and doing it in a way that grabs people’s attention while they’re at these venues.”

Jason, who is majoring in Communications and Media, is an avid sports fan and a member of the CMU Blazers Men’s Volleyball team.

“Watching sports, you always hear these announcements going over the loudspeaker,” Jason says.

“That will be me now, I guess. It’s a dream come true in some senses—not one I had set my mind to, but it’s neat to take advantage of (the opportunity).”

CMU student Thomas Friesen has spent the past year working as one of five sports and venues coordinators for the Canada Summer Games.

The opportunity came about as a result of Thomas Friesen (no relation to Jason), a CMU student who has spent the past year working as a sports and venues coordinator for the Canada Summer Games Host Society.

In addition to coordinating the venues and volunteers for the volleyball, golf, basketball, and triathlon competitions, Thomas’s work has involved producing the content that will be broadcast over the PA systems at the games. (Read more about Thomas’s experience working for the Games here.)

Like Jason, Thomas is majoring in Communications and Media. He took the Media Workshop class during the winter 2016 semester, which sparked his interest in getting CMU involved when it came time to recording the announcements he needed for the games.

Thomas knew that working with David, Darryl, and Jason would result in a professional recording.

“Just to get CMU involved in that way seemed like a great idea,” Thomas says. “They did an awesome job. They sound great. It’s pretty cool to think we’ll have (a CMU student) being the English voice of the games.”

This year’s Canada Summer Games will include 16 sports and 250-plus events featuring more than 4,000 athletes.

Over 7,000 volunteers were recruited to make the games possible, and more than 20,000 visitors are expected at the events.

The games start this Friday and go until Sunday, August 13. It’s the 50th anniversary of the games.

For Thomas, a lifelong sports fan who has played soccer and volleyball with the CMU Blazers, working for the games has been a dream come true.

“One of the best things about it is just working with people in sport,” Thomas says.

He adds that the passion he’s encountered from his supervisors, colleagues, and the volunteers is palpable.

“That’s probably the coolest thing,” he says, “always seeing that passion everywhere we go.”

Articles Student Profiles

Graduate student explores his Mennonite roots at CMU

“What does it mean for me to be a Mennonite?”

That’s the question that brought Daniel Rempel to CMU. Rempel is finding the answers to that question as he works toward a Master of Arts in Theological Studies in CMU’s Graduate School of Theology and Ministry.

Daniel Rempel
Daniel Rempel, student with CMU’s Graduate School of Theology and Ministry: “You come together with people who have similar goals and a similar desire to better understand God.”

Rempel’s question first occurred to him while he was earning an undergraduate degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Providence University College in Otterburne, MB.

“While I was there, I got introduced to a whole host of other denominations,” Rempel says, including Anglicans, Baptists, and Pentecostals.

“Being introduced to all these other Christian traditions caused me to really start thinking about what it means for me to be a Mennonite… Is it something I identify with because I believe in it? Or is it something I identify with because I don’t know anything else?”

Studying in the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry, where the professors are approaching topics from an Anabaptist perspective, has stoked Rempel’s interest.

“Coming to theology from that perspective has been enriching and made me want to learn more about my tradition,” Rempel says.

Halfway through his degree, Rempel is enjoying his time at CMU. The academics are rigorous, but professors are always available to support students and help them succeed.

“Pretty much every professor that I’ve had has just been fantastic,” Rempel says. His fellow students are also fantastic.

“You can’t learn in isolation, and so I’ve always found the classroom to be a life-giving place,” Rempel says. “You come together with people who have similar goals and a similar desire to better understand God.”

In his classmates, Rempel has found people he can be friends with, bounce ideas off of, and continue the conversation with once class is over.

“That’s been helpful and beneficial,” he says.

The affordability of tuition and the availability of bursaries has also made studying at CMU worthwhile, Rempel adds.

“Compared to other schools it is very affordable, and I’ve been fortunate to be on the receiving end of some very significant bursaries from some very generous donors,” he says.

Rempel is preparing to write a thesis that will explore how the church can be more welcoming and inclusive toward people with disabilities. His interest in the topic stems from working in group homes for the past two years.

“I’ve been really enlivened by that work,” Rempel says. “My eyes have been opened to the world that people with disabilities are living in… (It) has led me to ask some of these questions, and I’m looking for theological answers to my questions.” Rempel is considering doing a PhD after he finishes his Master’s.

“I’m definitely trying to keep that door open, but ultimately what drives me in my studies is that I want to do theology in a way that benefits the church,” he says.

In the meantime, he’s happy at CMU.

“I’m very thankful for the people here and for what I’ve learned so far,” Rempel says. “I’m about halfway through my degree now, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

Student Profiles

CMU students contribute to play about conscientious objectors’ experiences

Three Canadian Mennonite University students are conducting research and assisting in the development of the upcoming Theatre of the Beat (TOTB) play, Yellow Bellies.

“TOTB creates thought-provoking and socially relevant theatre to raise awareness of or get people thinking about social justice issues,” says Rebecca Steiner, TOTB General Director and Recruitment Coordinator at CMU. “This play will highlight the often forgotten stories of conscientious objectors during World War 2 and their contributions to Canada’s development.”

Jonas Cornelsen, Kayla Drudge, and Nadya Langelotz are researching the stories of conscientious objectors (COs) during the Second World War by reading archived material and conducting interviews to gather information about the time period. Their research is contributing to the play’s development.

“The students’ task is to research and share with us the interesting narratives, characters, and conflicts they find and help us think of how we can dramatize them,” says Steiner.

For Drudge and Langelotz, their research and work on the play is a part of their practica, which they are completing through the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives (MHCA). Additionally they are writing articles for the MHCA blog and transcribing archived video interviews. Cornelsen is assisting with conducting interviews and is recording them on video or audio as applicable.

The interviews include questions such as: why did you decide to become a CO? Did your church support you? If you went before a judge, what was your experience like? What was your experience like in the CO camp? How did this experience shape your life?

Part of Drudge’s research focuses on music that was popular in CO camps.

“Guys would sing in a cappella, barbershop-like groups,” says Drudge, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Music. “They would develop groups in CO camps, practice regularly, and go out to churches in the area to sing.”

The play will incorporate live music with a gospel-bluegrass style similar to music common to this period. It will also feature a medley Drudge composed that includes O Canada and I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go, a hymn sung by some COs when homesick. The medley will be used to transition between a scene that reflects the experience of appearing before a judge to advocate for CO status and a scene in a CO camp.

Langelotz, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, is working on one of the scenes and has enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with TOTB on the play’s development. The students have had opportunities to read the play as it’s being developed and offer feedback on scene order and content.

“The play uses historically accurate info and stories but if we have a character in mind with a specific trait, we can put that in,” says Langelotz. “We’re adding our own creative flair. It’s so neat to read it.”

Her research has uncovered a wide range of experiences that COs had.

“There’s huge varieties of different experiences—some had a great time and their time in court was easy to get CO status,” says Langelotz. “Other stories were horrible—sent to prison—standing up for what they believed in but not getting status.”

Langelotz says that those they’ve interviewed have expressed appreciation for the interest in their stories.

Student Profiles

It is God who makes the music

Anneli Loepp Thiessen

A lifelong love of music and a fascination with worship led Anneli Loepp Thiessen to pursue a Bachelor of Music at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

Loepp Thiessen says her studies offer opportunities to explore questions such as: why do we worship? And what does it mean when we worship? Answers to questions such as these are complex, yet Loepp Thiessen suggests the root of the answer lies in viewing worship as a conversation.

“We are very used to worshipping and making music as a community, but it’s more than congregations often realize,” she says. “It’s about gathering as a community and what we’re saying to each other—what does it mean to us and what does it mean to God?”

As a worship director at Doon Presbyterian Church in Kitchener, Ontario for two summers, Loepp Thiessen explored this theory in a practical setting, drawing on her classroom learning, including theories and techniques learned in the course Leading Music and Worship. The position was a foundational one for her.

“I know that I’m going to be involved with church music for a long time,” she says. “Having this foundation from CMU has given me a really realistic expectation for worship and guidelines of how we approach worship.”

A quote by Johann Sebastian Bach encapsulates the connections Loepp Thiessen sees in the two concentrations she’s studying: music ministry and piano performance.

I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music. – Johann Sebastian Bach

“If as a solo pianist I am being true to what Bach intended, then it’s going to be an act of worship—I need to think of it as a conversation with God, which takes it to another level,” she says.

Bach is a favourite composer of Loepp Thiessen’s and at CMU she’s had the opportunity to perform his pieces as a solo performer, with the Mennonite Community Orchestra, with the CMU Singers, and with a solo singer, all of which she has greatly enjoyed. She’s appreciated the opportunities to learn how to provide accompaniment in different performance contexts.

Loepp Thiessen has also experienced the collaborative nature of CMU through faculty mentorships in each department of the music program. Witnessing the care and interest of faculty members has impressed upon her the importance of sharing music with others.

“When I graduate from CMU, one of the things that will stick with me is the idea that as musicians one of the most valuable things we can do is be mentors,” says Loepp Thiessen. She’s already sharing her passion for and knowledge of music with others by teaching piano at CMU’s Community School of Music and the Arts.

Loepp Thiessen says studying music at CMU has surpassed her expectations.

“There is no school that offers such a wide range of disciplines within the music program, does them so well, and within the context of Christian community.”

Learn more about CMU’s Bachelor of Music degree:

Articles Student Profiles

CMU, Camps with Meaning develop students into strong leaders, faithful Christians

Summer may be a distant memory for most people, but Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) student Jonas Cornelsen fondly recalls how he spent July and August – working as the Bible instructor at Camp Koinonia.

The camp is one of three run by Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Camps with Meaning (CWM) ministry.

Cornelsen, who is majoring in Politics as well as Communications and Media, had never worked at camp full-time before.

It was a meaningful summer of spiritual renewal.

“God is God in all parts of our lives, and doesn’t leave (us) when we leave a special place like camp, but certainly that’s a place where you can become reconnected with that part of your being,” Cornelsen says. “I think I managed to carry that back a little bit with me into this (school) year, which has been great.”

CWS Group (small)
CMU students who were senior counsellors with Camps with Meaning in 2015 gathered at the CMU campus

Cornelsen wasn’t the only CMU student at camp. All 17 members of CWM’s 2015 leadership team and more than half of its senior counsellors were CMU students or alumni.

“CMU prepares people who become stronger leaders,” says Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe, a 2015 graduate who ran the summer program at CWM’s Camp Assiniboia this past summer.

Whether it’s by working as a residence assistant (RA), being a member of student council, leading worship in chapel, or playing on a sports team, CMU offers a variety of leadership opportunities.

Klassen-Wiebe knows people who found the confidence to work at camp after being in leadership roles at CMU.

“It was an easier progression because they had more experiences in other areas of their life,” she says.

Working at camp has also prepared students to lead at CMU.

Andrew Brown, a History and Politics major in his final year of study, was inspired to become a camp counsellor in high school because he wanted to give children the same great experience his counsellors gave him as a camper.

Brown describes himself as a naturally reserved, quiet introvert. Working at camp helped him grow and mature by pushing him out of his comfort zone.

Ultimately, it gave him the confidence to work as an RA at CMU.

His reasons for taking on that role were similar to his reasons for wanting to be a camp counsellor.

“You want to step up and offer that great experience you had to other people,” Brown says. “You want to be that person and help facilitate the community.”

Breanna Heinrichs, a Music major, says studying at CMU has equipped her to be a better song leader at camp.

She recalls working at camp one summer after taking a class on leading worship, in which she learned practical skills as well as explored the theology of worship.

“I found I could bring that understanding (to worship at camp), whether I articulated it explicitly with my fellow song leaders or not,” Heinrichs says.

Klassen-Wiebe adds that studying theology at CMU has made her a better counsellor and leader at camp.

“Having that base of knowledge, you have a wider spectrum of (things) to pull from when you’re talking about faith with campers,” she says.

Having so many CMU students involved with CWM is exciting, says CMU President Cheryl Pauls.

“As I’ve had opportunity to see CMU students in action through CWM, I’ve sat back with deep hope for the future of the church and thought, ‘Wow, what an honour CMU has to walk alongside young adults of such fine character, commitment, and courage,’” Pauls says. “CMU is deeply invested in leadership development, and the uptake and effectiveness of emerging leaders through camping ministry is most heartening.”

The camping ministry is vital to Mennonite Church Manitoba’s mission, says Ken Warkentin, the organization’s executive director.

“We at Mennonite Church Manitoba are very pleased to work in cooperation with CMU in this ministry,” Warkentin says. “We appreciate the integrated approach to education that CMU provides. This approach infuses the intellectual and spiritual development of the student with Christian Anabaptist values and worldview. Even though there is no direct link between CMU and Mennonite Church Manitoba, we recognize the importance of this university in our ongoing ministry.”

For Heinrichs, working at CWM is “a way of serving the church in a meaningful way.”

“It’s good work and also, it’s a good fit with a lot of what CMU is all about: community, the church, and figuring out ways of being the church,” she says.

Cornelsen agrees.

“CMU and camp bleed over in terms of the way we try to express God’s vision for how we should live… as people being the church,” he says. “They’re both important expressions of the church’s values and the way the church can be some kind of visible alternative to other parts of mainstream society.”

He adds that during the course of their studies, CMU students learn about a lot of things that are wrong with the world. Ultimately, though, optimism and hope undergird each lesson.

The same is true for camp.

“CMU and camp both teach us to live as if the story of the Bible matters,” Cornelsen says.

Articles Student Profiles

Practicum Experience about Embracing the Moment

Kathleen McCulloughKathleen McCullough describes her practicum placement as a “home away from home.”

While completing the final year of her BA in Psychology at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), McCullough volunteered with L’Arche, “an international organization of faith-based communities creating homes and day programs with people who have intellectual disabilities.”

The relational nature of a practicum with a L’Arche house in Winnipeg appealed to McCullough, who describes her placement as not necessarily having specific jobs, but helping to facilitate meeting the residents’ needs.

There are six L’Arche houses in Winnipeg, each with four to five core members, and a certain number of assistants and volunteers.

McCullough helped residents with day-to-day activities such as getting dressed, preparing for bed, or cooking meals. She developed friendships with the L’Arche residents through these activities and others such as games nights, watching movies, and birthday celebrations.

“It was about being with each other and embracing the moments that you have with each other … about being a home with people,” she says.

For McCullough, who describes herself as “big on relationships,” completing a practicum with L’Arche was an excellent choice. It also tied into her future plans—she’ll be pursuing further studies in education and aims to work as an assistant to children with disabilities in schools.

Anticipating this future work, McCullough says her practicum allowed her the opportunity to “figure out how to work with how [the residents] show their disability,” which she describes as a meaningful experience.

McCullough has been interested in psychology and the nature of relationships since high school. The psychology classes she’s taken at CMU focused on social relationships, counselling, and motivational psychology. The skills and tools she gained in the classroom were helpful in her placement, as the L’Arche community is composed of residents from diverse backgrounds.

“There’s so much diversity at L’Arche—different genders, faiths, cultural backgrounds,” she says. “L’Arche accepts everyone which is unique because [the diversity] makes the community at L’Arche so strong.”

For those who are planning their practicum, McCullough recommends choosing a practicum placement that will be meaningful.

“If you pick something that could lead toward your future vocational experience, that’s really important,” she says. “It makes it more enjoyable and you get more out of it.”

Ellen Paulley is a Writer and Social Media Coordinator at Canadian Mennonite University

Each of CMU’s Bachelor of Arts programs includes a practicum component that complements classroom education and allows students to gain hands on experience in their field. Learn more about CMU’s practicum program.

Articles Student Profiles

Applying business principles in the non-profit sector

Katie DamanKatie Daman had the opportunity to apply business skills in a non-profit setting during her practicum with Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

Daman, who graduated from CMU’s Redekop School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration in April 2015, completed her practicum at WestEnd Commons (WEC), a social enterprise in Winnipeg’s West End community.

Social enterprises are “not-for-profits that use business means to fulfill their mission,” explains Daman. WEC is home to the Neighbourhood Resource Centre, a social enterprise that “provides safe and affordable programming as well as meeting and office space for neighbourhood families and organizations in West Central Winnipeg.”

The social enterprise model adopted by WEC includes renting out spaces in the building including a commercial kitchen, assembly hall, and meeting and office space. The income generated from the rentals is invested in community programming.

Daman utilized her business education to help WEC further their transition into a social enterprise. Her main role was social media coordinator. She maintained WEC’s social media presence by posting articles that featured WEC, sharing content relevant to WEC’s mission, and connecting with organizations that support WEC.

“Social media is really important to not only create awareness of your organization’s existence, but also to help people remain aware about what your organization does on a day-to-day basis,” says Daman.

Additionally, Daman provided input into marketing plans and strategies, which she says is one way her practicum connected directly with her studies. The courses she’s taken have equipped her with the skills to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy, which centres on an organization’s mission and vision.

“Mission and vision are crucial to an organization internally and externally,” says Daman. “Internally you want to rally around a common purpose and goal. You need a common understanding so you can achieve it. Externally, you want people to buy into your purpose as well.”

Daman believes a social enterprise model can benefit non-profits and sees potential for non-profits to apply business principles in a way that helps them achieve their goals.

“A lot of non-profits are moving toward a social enterprise model,” she says. “It’s important to have people working in non-profits who understand core business principles and can apply them to the greater good—understanding how the two can work together, instead of as opposites.”

After graduating, Daman would like to pursue work in the social enterprise or community economic development sector. She feels the BBA degree has equipped her well for work in those areas.

“For me, CMU played an important part in allowing me to explore some of my alternative passions and desires, while also giving me the necessary business acumen to go out and work in the real world. If business is something that you’re interested in, whether it be traditional business or an alternative form, CMU should definitely be on your radar.”

Ellen Paulley is a Writer and Social Media Coordinator at Canadian Mennonite University

Click here to learn more about the Redekop School of Business

Student Profiles

Practicum an interface between education and experience

Marc RegierCMU student Marc Regier encourages his fellow students to make the  most of their practicum experiences.

“Give it your all, give it your best,” he says. “You’ll learn about your own capacity in doing so.”

A Biblical and Theological Studies major and an International Development Studies (IDS) minor, Regier is completing his practicum at the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) in Winnipeg, which takes on test cases for public interest groups and low-income individuals.

In his role at PILC, Regier says he has been “exposed to a whole range of responsibilities that a non-practicing lawyer could be exposed to at a law centre.” This includes compiling evidence, creating research reports and memos, meeting with clients, attending and documenting hearings, and “reading thousands of pages of material.”

As a child, Regier had a vision of being a lawyer, an interest his practicum reignited. He explains that through his longstanding focus on the legal implications of the Bible, he’s developed an idea of what legal practice is—something he’d like to “push into the secular world and test out.

Regier came to CMU seeking a rigorous approach to biblical studies and says he’s “honed an understanding of the historical, scientific merits of the Bible,” which has served to bring him closer to the Bible.

His practicum has been going “phenomenally well” and Regier has seen some of the IDS theories he’s learned being put into practice.

“The Public Interest Law Centre basically starts with the same worldview as IDS,” he says. “You measure what those who are marginalized need or want, bring that into the legal realm, and represent that among the big actors.”

Regier’s been inspired by the ways the lawyers at PILC work, saying there’s no end to the research they undertake and that they try to expose themselves to everything that’s been written on a topic. “It reflects competence and the desire to produce good work,” he says.

For those who are beginning a practicum, Regier offers this advice: “Respect and be a blessing to the people who have agreed to train you. Regularly and peaceably recognize when they are there and thank them.”

CMU believes experience-based education has great learning potential and as such, requires all Bachelor of Arts students to complete a practicum. The practicum complements classroom education by having students spend a significant amount of time in an off-campus placement.

Regier, who plans to attend law school after graduation, encourages students to complete their practicum near the end of their degree.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to end my education,” he says. “It’s the interface between education and experience.”

Ellen Paulley, Writer & Social Media Coordinator at Canadian Mennonite University

Learn more about CMU’s practicum program

Student Profiles

Play Therapy in Practice

Becky LonghurstCanadian Mennonite University (CMU) psychology student Becky Longhurst wants to work “all day, every day” in the field of play therapy.

The fourth year student had an opportunity to gain practical experience with play therapy during her nine-month practicum placement with Erie Neighborhood House in Chicago.

Play therapy involves watching the interactions children create between toys, which can be reflective of a child’s emotions and relationships, says Longhurst. Play therapy can be especially useful for children who aren’t yet able to express themselves verbally.

“We step back and observe and imagine what the interactions might mean for where children are at,” says Longhurst. “It’s a cool thing to see how they interact with other children before and after. It was rewarding to be a part of it.”

Erie Neighbourhood House’s mission is “to promote a just and inclusive society by strengthening low-income, primarily Latino families through skill-building, access to critical resources, advocacy and collaborative action.” One of the ways they do this is by partnering with graduate students from the University of Illinois at Chicago to offer a play therapy program for preschool children ages 2-5. Longhurst assisted teachers as needed and observed the play therapy process. She also spent part of her practicum as an assistant teacher.

Longhurst says she was able to see the theories she’s studied in the classroom be put into practice at Erie Neighbourhood House.

“As a student, the practicum instilled in me this was important work and it does make a difference,” she says. “I have more energy behind my education now because I’ve seen what it can do. It makes me want to develop more because I’ve seen that it really works.”

At the same time, Longhurst says the placement wasn’t without its struggle. “Kids are my happy place,” she says. “Can I get into a profession that might open me up to their suffering and pain?”

It was hard to see children experiencing some of what she’s studied but seeing the progress children made as a result of therapy helped Longhurst stay motivated in her work.

The challenge was one aspect of what made the practicum so valuable for Longhurst. By having the opportunity to experience and practice what is studied in the classroom, she says the practicum is a way for students to know what they may experience in their career.

“I’m a full enthusiast in putting academic and experiential learning together,” she says. “One of the most important things a student can do is to get out there, to go and see for themselves instead of people just telling them what it is.”

Each of CMU’s Bachelor of Arts programs has a practicum component, allowing students to gain hands on experience in their program.

Longhurst says the practicum experience made her feel more confident in her choice of a psychology major and that she feels “more comfortable in graduating with it.”

As for what’s next, Longhurst expects she’ll pursue a master’s degree with the ultimate goal of working in play therapy.

“Anything that lets me work with kids until I get there is fine—whatever leads me there is going to be great,” she says.

Ellen Paulley, Writer and Social Media Coordinator at CMU

Learn more about CMU’s practicum program

Articles Student Profiles

CMU a safe space for conversations about faith

Ayla Manning initially wasn’t sure she’d want to study at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). But attending CMU on a Campus Visit Day helped change her mind.

“I interacted with the professors who would be teaching me, which hadn’t happened at any other schools,” she says. “It was a sign of how the relationships between students and staff would go.”

Ayla Manning
Ayla Manning, 2nd year student at CMU

Although she had intended to come for only one year, Manning has since decided to pursue her full degree at CMU. A second year Communications & Media major, Manning learned about CMU through Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, which she attended for grades 10-12.

Manning, who doesn’t come form a Mennonite background and is an atheist, says CMU is a great place to “talk about faith, religion, beliefs, and why people think and live the way they do.”

She says she hasn’t felt pressured to “think one way or act one way.” Being surrounded by people who live their lives in a way that mirrors what they think about has encouraged Manning to think about her own perspectives and beliefs.

“Being in a religious environment hasn’t caused me to become religious, but to think about the way I live my life and why I live my life in this way,” she says.

For those who wonder about attending CMU and are not from a Mennonite or Christian background, Manning encourages a visit to “see people in their everyday school lives, because that’s pretty much how it’s going to be.”

Having an open mind and being prepared for others to have different beliefs is also important, she says. “Based on my experience, you’ll never feel pressure, shame, or being left out.”

As one of CMU’s commuter assistants, Manning helps make life easier for students who commute to CMU. Organizing monthly events and being available to answer questions or provide some assistance during times of crisis are some of the services commuter assistants provide. Manning is also a member of Committee Council, which includes representatives from all areas of life at CMU.

While she hadn’t anticipated studying at CMU, Manning expresses appreciation for the atmosphere and people on campus. “People are really nice and make an effort to reach out,” she says.

By Ellen Paulley, Writer & Social Media Coordinator