Life in a Westminster Theme House: CIVICUS

In addition to more traditional college housing, Westminster College also brings students together, joined by interest or cause, in theme houses. From being passionate about the ecosystem to being involved in campus spiritual life, these houses provide unique environments for students to live, learn, and grow together. Above, Erna Hrncic, ’14;  Abby Stokes, ’14; Liridona Osmanaj, ’14; and Enrique Salanic Alvarado, ’15. Below, Abby shares her thoughts on the CIVICUS theme house.

 I have always been passionate about social justice, and as I grew older, I realized that I wanted to spend my life working for the betterment of the world. As a Westminster student, I had access to many opportunities that would help me to work towards this goal, and one of them was living in the CIVICUS theme house.

CIVICUS is an intentional living community and organization on campus dedicated to spreading awareness about social justice issues in Fulton and around the world. As an officer in CIVICUS, I was one of four students who committed an entire year to organizing events and service opportunities on and off campus in the name of social justice. During this year, I grew as a service leader at Westminster, as a person in my ability to live with others, and I was able to more fully develop myself as a proponent for social justice in the world.

Of course, it was not perfect. As with any living situation, we encountered issues. Dishes, unwanted houseguests, loud Saturday nights, and mysterious food disappearances were all situations we encountered as housemates. As CIVICUS officers, however, we were able to overcome these obstacles in the name of our cause.

I would not give up the experience I gained in the CIVICUS house for anything. If an incoming student or underclassmen asked me whether they should join a theme house on campus, I would say absolutely yes! Not only is it an incredible experience to live with like-minded individuals, but it also helps you to develop an understanding of the things you are interested in and passionate about.

So thank you, Westminster. What a great opportunity!

Abby Stokes, Class of 2014 

Abby Stokes, '14

Left, President Forsythe recognizes Abby as a 2013 Newman Civic Fellow, one of only 181 student leaders chosen across the country for their investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

She is currently working at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia and interning on a Terra Bella Farm in mid-Missouri. Her goal is to start her own educational, organic farm that fuels smaller urban farming projects.



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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.