Two Grove City College students joined young leaders from other colleges and luminaries from the world of politics and religion last month in Washington for the National Association of Evangelicals’ Christian Student Leadership Conference.
At the “Justice, Mercy and Humility in Public Life” conference, Emmanuel Agladima ’20 and Madeline Myers ’19 heard diverse speakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Sen. Mitt Romney and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, discuss faith in public life, evangelical political engagement, immigration and more at the U.S. Capitol and other D.C. landmarks.
“We were excited to send two students who are interested in social welfare policy to this important conference, which emphasized the value of forming relationships with those who hold different viewpoints and the critical role of humility in leadership,” Dr. Lisa L. Hosack, professor of Social Work, said.
Agladima, an international student from Lagos, Nigeria, said he went to the conference to learn about how policy is made and see what it takes to become part of the process.
“It was a wonderful experience,” he said. “It was encouraging to hear policymakers talk about the importance of their faith in Jesus and how they are able to form deep relationships with senators in the opposing parties. They emphasized the importance of bipartisanship and finding coming grounds and that it takes humility and respect to be able to this.”
“I went to the conference because I want to work with government offices to ensure that all people have their civil rights and equal opportunity in this country. I wanted to learn more about the processes and institutions that bring those protections about,” Myers, a Psychology major from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, said.
“I took away that bipartisanship is important and not many of us do it well, including myself,” said Myers, who is also pursuing a minor in Biblical and Religious Studies. “People are bigger than issues and we must look at them as humans, not a collection of ideas we do or do not agree with. Those issues do mean life or death and other huge consequences for people, to be sure, but frivolous combativeness will not make progress.”
Agladima, who is majoring in Biblical and Religious Studies with a minor in Social Work, had a similar reaction to the conference. “One big thing I took away from the conference is the Importance of building relationships with people who hold views opposing views and the need for Christians to be involved in public life, be it through constant prayer for the country or working directly in politics,” he said.
Other colleges and universities represented at the NAE conference included Asbury University, Bethel University, Calvin College, George Fox University, Olivet Nazarene University, University of Northwestern and Wheaton College.