Two weeks ago, Redeemer Pacific College formally announced plans to create a Student Association. In preparation, RPC began recruiting senior students to fulfil roles as acting members of a rudimentary council. This council, with Andrew Sanche serving as the Acting President, began drafting outlines of a mission statement, a council structure, formal policy, and bylaws.
The decision of the College to form an official student association was in response to changing realities for RPC and Trinity Western University. The amount of students attending RPC has been growing consistently over the past few years. Presently, student events and services for the College are either facilitated through three student life coordinators or organized by the students and staff of RPC. Sanche and the RPC staff began discussing restructuring the current system in order to better provide for the larger numbers of RPC students.
The acting council is made up of students who have been consistently active in RPC as well as TWU student life. Andrew Sanche has worked as a Collegium Assistant and essential chapel staff. Marcus Van Noort, who has been steadily involved in various roles at RPC, is the Acting VP of Finance, while Ted Lewis, TWUSA’s current Vice President, will be the Acting Vice President. Nathan Giede, TWUSA’s executive director of Internal Relations, is serving as the constitutional advisor as the council constructs its policies.
The difficulty in creating a new, more independent association, according to Lewis, is representing the distinctive character of the college while still expressing the closeness between TWU and RPC. “We are still a part of the TWU mission,” said Lewis, “but we also want to make our unique beliefs known as well. We want to demonstrate our similarities as well as the differences that give us our unique aspects.” Sanche added: “TWU markets its quality of education and the orthodoxy of its education. RPC wants to uphold this mission while still staying consistent with our Catholic roots.”
“We’re very drawn to the diversity of a community,” continued Sanche, “that binds itself around a whole.” The council pointed to the recent academic debate held between RPC professor Chris Morrissey and the Chair of TWU’s philosophy department, Grant Havers, as a great opportunity for Catholic, Protestant, and all other TWU students to dialogue about issues of faith. Sanche said, “It’s a great example of the types of dialogues we like to engage in. It was an open debate on serious issues held in a respectful way and that’s what we want to offer. Our time in the academic world is short and there are so many chances for growth if we take them.”
For the short term, the acting council is presently working out the logistics of setting up the new organization. Sanche stated that, amidst preparing for the subsummation of Student Life with RPC, the council is “undertaking an initiative to construct a framework that will provide a lasting foundation.” However, long-term plans are, according to Lewis, “nebulous and uncertain.”
Giede acknowledged that the council’s mission statement “binds us to fulfil the unique needs of the Catholic population at TWU. It depicts how we will present ourselves. It all still depends on the wants and needs of the students.”
Above all, said Van Noort, “we’re a resource.” Sanche continued, “We’re here for those who want to be a part of RPC and field questions and satisfy the thirst for information. We want to be approachable and accessible.”
The present acting council will be serving until no later than March of next year. Their objective is to have completed a constitution by November 2012 and have instituted bylaws by the start of Spring semester, 2013. “We’re hiring,” said Lewis. “The time is now. Council members will be paid reasonably well and will provide a unique and positive dimension to TWU and RPC.”