by Dana Simpkin
Concordia has partnered with non-profit organization New Vision Renewable Energy for the second consecutive year to raise funds that will help provide free light to homes around the world.
NVRE President Rev. Ruston Seamen’s brother is the president of Cattle National Bank, the presenting sponsor for this year’s Christmas at Concordia concert.
Concordia’s initial partnership with the NVRE stems from the school’s long-standing relationship with the Cattle National Bank. In May 2015, Concordia presented $3,800 to NVRE. The anticipated goal for the 2016-17 school year is $5,000.
“Just think about the idea of going back to your dorm room and needing to do homework and flipping on your light switch and your power not working,” junior Payton DeVencenty said.
DeVencenty and junior Jan Steinbrueck, both DCE majors, are leading this year’s NVRE campus fundraisers with the help of Campus Pastor Rev. Ryan Matthias.
Students can expect to hear more information regarding upcoming events within the next month.
Possible fundraisers include a concert/campout in the quad or performances by the jazz band and a cappella choir for the community.
“We’re trying to get Professor Blanco to offer up his mustache for the cause as well,” DeVencenty said. “Then we’ll set a goal, and if we pass that goal with donations we’d get to shave and cut the ‘stache.”
Each light unit costs approximately $120 to make.
The fixtures are assembled on the back of recycled political campaign signs by over 700 volunteer workers across the United States.
Students may have a hands-on opportunity to learn how the fixtures are built sometime within the next year as funds and materials are being collected.
“(Seamen’s) idea was to use these LED, rechargeable solar panel lights to put in their homes so that the kids could get their education, they could study, and it has practical applications too,” Matthias said. “There’s stories of the snakes that come, and the snakes are deathly afraid of these lights. There’s one mother of twins who, before they got the light, lost both of her babies because a cobra or something snuck in there and got them both.”
Both Matthias and DeVencenty said the potential impact of this project could mean more than just providing physical light to those in need.
“(The kids) just want to learn something majestic during the day, you know, something that can really change their life,” Matthias said. “We’re called to care about people all over the world, and if Jesus is the light of the world … to be able to extend that kind of love in just a very physical way would be good.”
“These kids want to go to school, and they want to do their homework, but they have to support their family as well,” DeVencenty said. “It’d be awesome for them to have light at night for them to be able to do their homework by, get an education (and) make an impact on the world, because that’s what we’re all trying to do here. We’re at Concordia trying to make an impact on the world, and we do that with light, and it would be cool to spread that light—not only visible light, but the light of Christ as well.”