This past week I had the great pleasure of visiting a college campus I've known of nearly all my life but never experienced. Berea College is truly a fantastic example of the Law of Giving in action. The college proudly offers 32 majors, 15 teacher education programs, 16 national and international honor societies, and so much more in the way of accolades. What's so amazing about this, you might ask? Each admitted student enters with a scholarship that covers nearly $100,000 for a four year education! Berea is one of only seven federally recognized work colleges in the country. How do they do that?
Berea College is a private non-denominational college who relies on the gifts of alumni and friends and on income from the college's endowment. It's students come from all walks of life, all 50 states and 62 countries round the world. The college has proven concern for the environment with numerous accomplishments in the realm of sustainability including several campus buildings that have been built or retrofitted to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Statuses. It also houses Kentucky's first developed Ecovillage, consuming 75% less energy and water than conventional housing. Students participate in the administration, maintenance and demonstration to visitors of these and so many further features, trading labor for education in this working college.
Additionally and most intriguing to me, the Student Crafts program (including broomcraft, ceramics, jewelry, weaving and woodcraft production areas) avails students of new creative skills while furthering their cognitive thinking and providing the potential of new creative endeavors to be enjoyed for a lifetime. The products created by the students are sold in various shops around the campus and around the world as well! I had the great pleasure of seeing these items and visiting the bustling weaving studio, the area that naturally fascinates me most! The energy of the campus and the working shops was tangibly positive and joyfilled. The attitudes of those at work were of great appreciation for the skills they were developing. The director of the weaving studio spent such generous time with me, talking with me as if we were old friends catching up!
It's likely evident I could go on all day about this experience. I first wanted to visit the campus with my general awareness of their Student Crafts program. This program fascinates me to no end! To also find that the very engine that drives this entire operation, successful since 1855, embodies the very law of giving and receiving that we have all been focused with, endears this place to me all the more while proving that the Universal Mind merely needs willing and actionable conduits. Berea's Alumni list includes a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a Physicist and Inventor of touchscreen technology, the developer of the catalytic converter, a former US Secretary of Commerce, and automotive engineer and developer & owner of Roush Racing, Mr. Jack Roush himself. If this is not evidence of the greatness that is waiting for us to engage, I don't know what is!