J-Term thrills, educates

Featured Image: Zion Purvis-Allen shakes hands with Va. Senator Aaron Rouse. VWU Flickr | Courtesy

While the VWU campus is less populated during January Term, there is no lack of activities, events and excitement with the reduced traffic. During J-Term, students have the opportunity to earn four credits by taking a single class over a span of three weeks.

Out of the thirty courses being offered, freshman Anika Valentine chose to take HE 201: Safety and First Aid. Through this course, students learned how to properly bandage wounds and take care of a person in the event of an emergency. 

Valentine’s favorite part was learning how to do CPR. She emphasized how the class “was a lot more fun” than a regular semester course because of how interactive and engaging it was.

“I would definitely recommend the class if you like hands-on activities,” Valentine said. 

Classes were not the only things occupying students’ time over the 2023 January Term season though. Student Activities and Off the Hook worked hard to ensure there were a variety of events for students to participate in or attend. A Mario Kart Video Game Tournament, ice skating at the MacArthur Mall, a Norfolk Admirals hockey game and a rubber duck race were just a few of the opportunities offered. 

Sophomore Hana Akanbi, an Off the Hook student worker, talked about what the student activities scene was like over January Term. Although there were less people on campus, activities were still fun and well-attended. 

Akanbi’s favorite event from January Term was the dive-in movie night. 

“It was such a great idea and execution,” Akanbi said. “I loved it.” 

“The Waterboy” was played on the wall of the swimming pool room, and students watched the movie while floating in the water.

January on campus was also a time to recognize and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On Jan. 16, Virginia Wesleyan hosted its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Commemoration Ceremony. 

Virginia State Senator Aaron Rouse was the keynote speaker, and through the sharing of his personal life experiences, he called listeners to follow their own paths, to be leaders even when opposition confronts them. 

Junior Edward McDonald, Student Government Association president and a member of the swim team, talked about the importance of holding ceremonies like this on campus. 

“It was really inspiring, and I was excited to see the community show up like that,” McDonald said. 

Student athletes were also encouraged to attend the ceremony.

After giving his speech, Rouse was given the Wesley Award to recognize his service to the community. Following that, one of Virginia Wesleyan’s very own students was presented with the 2023 Mavis McKenley ‘11 Award, named after the alumna and Board of Trustees member Mavis McKenley. It is an award that is presented to a student each year who represents the values of Martin Luther King Jr. 

This year’s recipient, senior Zion Purvis-Allen, was recognized for his active community involvement both on and off campus. When asked about what he believed the importance of an award like this is, Purvis-Allen said “I think it’s amazing to be able to have an award for students… because it lets you know that faculty and staff do care about the students.” 

He was humbly honored to be presented with such an award and expressed how meaningful it is for the campus community to truly “notice all the little things you do.” 

As a part of the campus recognition of MLK Jr. Day, students were encouraged to participate in service activities throughout the weekend leading up to the official day. 

Details on how to get involved with various on and off campus service opportunities were provided by Wesleyan Engaged. Some of the advertised events were meal-packing for homeless shelters, disaster relief kit assembling and the creation of wildflower seed bombs for a local creek. 

Sophomore Evelyn Weaver participated in a tree planting event at a Virginia Beach Teen Shelter. Volunteers from a variety of organizations, not limited to the student body of Virginia Wesleyan, came together and ended up planting 64 trees.

Two of those trees were oak trees, and Weaver expressed her excitement for how they “live for 700 years, so they are going to be around way, way past when we’re gone.” She said the importance of combining service activities with the recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day was how it fosters community building, a value that King embodied and lived out.

Overall, the 2023 January Term was full of learning, fun, recognition and service.

Phoebe Cox