The dust has settled and the rumbling has stopped. What was that?
It was the sound of RUSH where every year the freshmen and transfer students rush down the gym bleachers into the fellowship of their choosing. Now that all the new fellowship members have been branded, embarrassed, and had a ton of fun doing it (we hope) it is time to look forward to Bible studies, fellowship chapel, community service projects, and fellowship-hosted school events.
Lambs president Jessica Byrnes said her decision was partly influenced by her impression of the brother fellowships and how well they worked together with their sisters.
When asked about the history of fellowships in general, Eagle’s president Christopher Zuver said that fellowships “provided the primary source of Bible studies and events” on campus—including intramural sports.
Fellowships were born in 1980 after Dr. Rich Noland and Bill Katip, the academic dean at the time, came back from a conference and suggested starting the fellowships. Other school representatives at the conference had reported how similar school groups made a positive difference on their campuses.
Corban College, then Western Baptist College, created a unique form of clubs focused on service for the Lord and one another.
Freshmen were required to join a fellowship when they were officially introduced in the fall of 1981. Even the layout of the yearbooks changed. Starting in the 1981-82 yearbook, students were categorized by fellowship rather than class.
Some of the faculty members here today were part of the original fellowships when they first began. Dr. Marty Trammell was an Eagle, Dr. Bryce Bernard was a Trojan and his wife Julie was a Panda, along with Claudia Howden, Danielle Howden’s mother.
The fellowships are a bit different than they used to be. For one thing it’s not a requirement to join one, though strongly recommended. Lambs didn’t start out as Lambs. Pi Alpha Delta used to be the Pegasus until 1984-85 when they decided to be the Lambs, because some didn’t like having a Greek mythological figure as its symbol.
It has been said that around 2001, the fellowships were almost extinct due to lack of participation and interest. Comments have been floating around campus recently that the fellowships don’t seem to be as active as they once were.
Each fellowship has had its share of rough patches in the last few years whether it be a lack of attendance at Bible studies, inconsistencies in leadership, or being put on probation for not completely fulfilling their responsibilities.
“There is new leadership this year, and that brings a new face to the fellowships,” said Byrnes. “As a president I’m trying to keep our fellowship focused on its original purpose and revive the spirit of the fellowship itself. But a new attitude needs to also be set forth because fellowships are not required like they once were.
“Students need to get out of their comfort zones and go beyond themselves to get to know people who are outside their social bubbles.”