QuaC Goes on the Road
Members of QuaC include Carl Sigmond (front) and (back, left to right) Patrick Lozada, Solomon Lutze, Christy Tavernelli, Jacki LaBua, Eli Blood-Patterson, and Andrew Thompson.
Haverford's Quaker student group QuaC has received a grant to fund a series of visits to other Quaker-affiliated colleges across the country. The aim: to build stronger ties and learn from each other.
When Haverford’s Quaker student group QuaC applied for a grant from the Thomas H. and Mary Williams Shoemaker Fund of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, they asked for $3,000 to put together a symposium for Quaker-affiliated schools across the country. With that money, QuaC also hoped to set up a visitation program between Haverford and other campuses, to forge community ties and learn from each other.
“They said to forget about the symposium,” said Andrew Thompson ’12, part of the committee that submitted the proposal last fall. “But they told us to go out and visit other colleges, and bring people to Haverford. And they gave us $5,000.”
With that support, QuaC has been able to send students on two Quaker quests so far, and additional trips are in the works.
Along with Thompson, Martin Blood-Forsythe '10 and Christie Tavernelli ‘13 form the Intervisitation Committee, which organizes and plans QuaC’s exchanges. Emily Higgs ’08, Haverford’s Quaker Affairs Program Coordinator and a former member of QuaC herself, also helps to oversee the project.
For the first excursion, in April, four Fords took a road trip to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, to learn about the role Quakerism plays on campus there. It was literally a hands-on visit—together, the students helped a local Quaker meeting to raise a barn.
Then, last month, Thompson and six others spent a weekend at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, where they mingled with faculty and students. “We compared how our different communities work, and what the challenges of each are,” he said.
It turns out that Earlham, whose student body is about 12 percent Quaker as opposed to Haverford’s 6 percent, has a more decentralized Quaker community. “Here we stick together more, but there they’re not as cohesive,” said Thompson. “But they seemed to notice how close we are, and wanted that in their community too.”
Finding ways to build better support at Haverford for students who wish to maintain their spirituality is one of the aims of the Quac committee, said member Blood-Forsythe. “One of the things that we wanted the Intervisitation Program to address when we started it,” he said, “was to get a better feeling for the kinds of institutional structures that other schools have relating to their Quakerism.” Now, QuaC is working with contacts at a few other colleges to arrange future visits. One is George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, a much more conservative and overtly Quaker school than Haverford or those visited so far.
Thompson said that a QuaC trip to George Fox should be interesting. "It would be a very different experience, both spiritually and socially, just to see what students there do. I mean, they don’t allow dancing on campus.” --Mara Miller ‘10