Commit to Community

By Annaliese Grellmann
Here is a list of things I love about Walla Walla University in no particular order: stopping to hug a friend in the middle of the crosswalk, lingering after vespers, ASWWU Senate, chatting with The Atlas baristas, Village Hall covered in snow, and my professors who make me learn things I didn’t know I wanted to learn. 

I began my freshman year as a nursing major and a volunteer for Circle Church. The next year, I left, full of anticipation and earnestness, to be a student missionary at Kuda Vana Children’s Home in Zimbabwe. When the pandemic hit, I flew home and began online classes three days later. I was part of the first group on campus in the fall when I got my first ASWWU jobs: Senator and a writer for the Collegian. I switched my major, decided to go to law school, and jumped in to work for ASWWU Social. I never planned to be ASWWU President; it was saying yes, doing things afraid, and choosing to love the people and place right in front of me that led me here. 

One of the best parts of my job is getting to dream alongside my team about what we hope for this campus. During the spring when we thought about our vision for the year, we decided on the theme “commit to community.” I’m not talking about the weekly event we call CommUnity. I’m talking about community: that collective belonging that we all crave. Community is something God created us for. Our togetherness matters to Him. The word “commit” is important because it signifies that true community doesn’t just happen. It takes effort and good work. This theme isn’t just a phrase or a wish. It’s a guidepost for our decisions. We want it to be practical. 

Each quarter as a team and, we hope, as a student body, we will emphasize a different step in the process of building community. The first is to connect. We have to say hello before we can feel like we belong. The second is to invest. Friendship takes time. And the third is to reflect. Reflection is the process of looking at what went well, what didn’t, and what we want to take with us moving forward. My team is creative, intelligent, and invested and it is our hope that this year we will create opportunities for you to connect, invest, and reflect as we all work towards committing to this Walla Walla University community. I’ve experienced the joy of collective belonging and it’s my desire that you get to experience that too.