A Way to Connect: Beyond WWC
Newly developed program gives graduates a boost into their new lives
After 16 to 18 years as a student, it can be hard for college graduates to integrate themselves into the “real world.” It’s not just the schedule change that is challenging. Moving away from familiar faces and areas can also be hard. This is where Beyond WWC steps into the picture.
Beyond WWC is a free service for graduates to help them get settled in new communities after graduation. The program facilitates connections between these graduates and the church groups and young adult activities in their new areas.
“They may get invitations to dinner, church, and social activities, as well as help moving, finding jobs, and assistance in getting acquainted with the new community,” says Susan Bungard, chair of the Beyond WWC committee. “Our goal is not only to create a growing network of churches and contact people in cities across the US for graduates to join, but also to create a network of Beyond WWC graduates themselves to help them find each other in larger communities after graduation.”
Beyond WWC is the result of encouragement and ideas from former WWC president Jon Dybdahl, who wanted to find a way for WWC to help students after graduation. The area chosen to launch Beyond WWC was Spiritual Life and Mission, and Bungard, director of spiritual development, was selected as chair.
The committee’s network of contacts involves conference presidents, pastors, WWC alumni, and friends of WWC faculty and staff. These individuals are asked to be part of the network, and upon acceptance are sent an information packet. When a graduate moves to the participating individual’s area, the individual is given contact information for the graduate and the connections begin.
Some of the most popular locations graduates move to are the Loma Linda, Portland, and Seattle areas. However, the Beyond WWC program has helped students make connections in places as far away as New York and Hawai’i. The committee is currently working on a request for connections in Africa, and has established some contacts there.
“The Beyond WWC program has been very successful thus far,” says Bungard. “This is mostly due to the openness, friendliness, and helpfulness of contacts all over the United States who have been anxious to welcome WWC graduates into their communities.”
One of the biggest challenges Beyond WWC faces right now is getting the word out that there is such a program available. As it is a relatively new program, many graduates are unaware that such a resource is available to them, and at no cost.
In 2006, over 70 seniors signed up for Beyond WWC. This year, the program has 85 seniors signed up, and expects to see a few more in the days surrounding graduation.
The word is, however, getting out there, and the Beyond WWC program was recently given as an excellent example of what the church would like to see implemented across the nation.
“I really believe in this program,” says Paddy McCoy, Beyond WWC committee member and director of village student life. “It means that we don't ever have to stop caring for students. We just make sure the baton gets passed on to other communities who we hope will continue to care for the students' needs as we hope to do while they are here on our campus.”
To learn more about Beyond WWC and how you can be a part of it, contact Susan Bungard at 509-527-2610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out the Beyond WWC webpage.
Beyond WWC Committee Members:
Susan Bungard (THEO), chair; Marlene Baerg (ENGR), Becky Beddoe (ADVT), Nelle Cornelison (CAR), Kyle Craig (CHEM), Jen Drake (student), Rob Holm (TECH), Stephanie Jones (student), Trudy Klein (NURS), Pedrito Maynard-Reid (SLM), Paddy McCoy (VSL).