Homecoming court member Shadi Awwad isn’t your typical Northwestern student. Perhaps it’s the fact that he was born in Istanbul, Turkey. Or that he grew up in Jordan, only moving to Wisconsin when he was 16.
Or maybe it’s the fact that, unlike your average student, he chose to come to NW by flipping a coin. It’s a true story. He’d been accepted to several colleges out east and had no intentions of attending a Christian college; he even threw a stack of Christian college mailings in the trash. But he said: “That night when I threw the college cards away, I woke up in a cold sweat. I closed my eyes, said a prayer—because I knew this wasn’t something of my own, somehow it was God. Then I pulled out two cards.” The two cards were for Bethel College in Minnesota and Northwestern College. He tossed a coin. “And from there,” he said, “everything clicked.”
Awwad also stands out for his passion for the campus community, especially dorm community. “I really enjoy dorm community, especially here in Heemstra.” He is an RA in Heemstra this year and is definitely enjoying his job. “I freaking love it!” he said. “And you can quote the freaking part!”
Awwad’s other activities on campus include involvement in the SGA, Terra Nova Club, MCA and A cappela Choir.
Awwad is also enjoying his status as the only non-Coly guy on the Homecoming Court. “I feel proud to represent the non-Coly male population,” he commented.
Finally, if Awwad could have his way, Blue Bunny would turn multi-cultural with its ice cream and introduce a new flavor— Baklaveh (a Middle Eastern sweet).
Arriving right on time for his interview and dressed all in red, Paul Ryan Clemens bounded across the lounge. “I’m here!” he called out, announcing his very noticible entry.
An Orange City native, Paul Clemens is well known for his participation and involvement in several intramural sports including flag football and basketball. He is also a part of the NW men’s Golf Team.
“I still live in the dorms! And as a senior…yeah,” he said. “Living in the dorms gives you lots of opportunities.” We may never know what actually goes on in Coly but can be sure that he’s around, ready to hang out and helping with the Colenbrander Prayer Room.
“I do a lot of the SAC events”, he also admitted with a laugh, “I was actually on the Homecoming Court planning committee for the last two years!”
As to his future, this 22-year-old math major is still exploring opportunities. When I asked him what his plans were, his reaction was immediate.
“Aww! That’s such a difficult question!” he groaned. But he does have two options in mind—to either get into actuarial sciences or . . . go to seminary. When asked where that idea came from, Clemens saidthat he has been interested in seminary ever since his SOS trip to Alaska where he taught young children the “basics of the gospels.”
“I realized that I loved teaching it . . . but what I was interested in was going deeper—I wanted to tell them there was so much more,” he said.
Recalling NW memories, Clemens remembed his sophomore-year roomie, alum Brandon Van Marel, who really challenged his faith and kept him accountable, as well as former Colenbrander RD Marlin Haverdink who was to him a “really good example” of a leader.
If Clemens could create his own Blue Bunny flavor it would be: ”Carmel Mocha—if there isn’t already such a flavor. Just because it’s my favorite drink.”
If you look up “people-person” in the dictionary, don’t be surprised to see the name Jason Grow.
Yes, this young man from Rippey, Iowa, has a passion for being with people. And while this passion took root at home with his parents Doug and Pam and siblings Brian and Kelly, Grow says his relationships at Northwestern raise the bar.
“The people I live with in this community challenge me in more ways than I ever have been before, whether it is academically, socially, spiritually or just to develop my talents and abilities in the best way I can,” he said.
His passion for people comes through in his involvement on campus. If he’s not singing with the A cappella Choir, challenging friends in intramurals, leading on the Orientation Staff, planning a leadership conference, working on Coly Hall Council or welcoming people to campus as a student ambassador, you’ll probably find him hanging out with guys on the wing where he’s serving as an RA.
Of course, when he’s hanging out, Grow finds a little time to be mischievous. Rumor has it that he was involved with stealing a snowman from the awning of Heemstra and burning it with unleaded gasoline—but then again, that’s just rumor. He does admit to helping a group of guys launch water balloons at alumnus Jason Christensen. However, Grow was quick to add, “Jason Christensen made sure that there were some entertaining repercussions for all of us.” It’s all about building community, Grow.
Even as he looks toward graduation, he will carry part of NW with him for years to come. “I will remember the people I have met here and the relationships I have developed,” he said.
As a Christian education major with a youth emphasis, Grow looks forward to sharing his life with people. “I will either attend seminary somewhere or work in a church, probably in the central Iowa area,” he said. And so, in taking this passion for relationships where ever he goes, the community, well . . . grows.
P.S. Adding to the ever-growing repertoire of Blue Bunny flavors, Grow would like to introduce a new turtle cheesecake ice cream.
As Jason Holtgrewe, a senior history major, nears the end of his four years here, soon he will no longer be studying history but will instead be looking toward the future. Holtgrewe, from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, plans to go on to seminary to become a pastor.
“I wanted to take advantage of the time I have now to learn now,” explained Holtgrewe.
During his “now,” Holtgrewe has been a student manger and a member of the prison ministry team and the SSP team that went to Texas. He has also helped out with area youth groups and he was an RA last year.
“That was definitely the highlight so far of extracurricular activities,” said Holtgrewe of his RA experience. “Building relationships with the guys on my wing in Colenbrander was incredible.”
He also loved the close relationships that he built with the other guys on the RA staff. The growth of these relationships was aided in RA meetings, especially when they played “Hot Seat,” during which one of them could be asked any question and would have to answer it.
Other times that have been memorable for Holtgrewe are breaking into the Orange City pool this year and naked Mario Cart (we don’t want to know) with the guys on second east.
NW will soon be history for Holtgrewe. However, the relationships that he has formed will not. “Some of the friends I’ve made here I know I’ll have for the rest of my life,” Holtgrewe said. “There’s no doubt that’s the best part.”
His choice of ice cream flavors would have to be French Silk—because he loves the pie so much.