On Monday, students gathered excitedly for what is perhaps the most anticipated chapel of the year, Town Hall Chapel. This 40-minute chapel service is an open-mic forum for students to ask President Philip Ryken any question — personal, institutional or otherwise. Students chatted with their friends about 2015’s infamous chapel apple incident while walking up the steps of Edman Chapel.
But President Ryken immediately lightened the mood, opening the chapel service by returning Chaplain Blackmon’s orange handkerchief, which he used on stage and promised to send back, freshly laundered.
Junior Jake Krogh took the floor first and recited a parody of Jesus feeding the 5000, using donuts in replacement of fish and bread. Students applauded when several other toga-clad male students unzipped duffle bags to reveal innumerable boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. “Take as many as you want!” Krogh said.
Other students stepped up to ask questions: “What was floor life like in Traber when you were a resident?” “Who better embodies a Wheaton student, my sister or me?” “How do I look in my toga?”
Students also asked more serious questions around issues of abortion, identity and calling and care for sexual minorities.
One student asked when the college might expect a dean of diversity. According to Ryken, the college is planning to begin the hiring process for this position soon, possibly before the close of the calendar year.
“Where does Wheaton stand on the executive order that may affect international students such as myself?” an international student from Honduras asked.
Ryken said that though he could not answer for the collective institution at the time, his personal view was that the United States could do “a lot more than welcome the 10,000 per year” that the country has done previously and suggested that this was a “chance for the church to mobilize.”
According to Ryken, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities — which Wheaton is part of — and the National Association of Evangelicals have written to the Trump administration to request reconsideration of the executive order. “We will also be contacting international students and faculty on campus to find out if anyone is affected,” he said.
Other topics included the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, how the student body can best pray for our college president, and when the “suffering” will end regarding the single-ply toilet paper, to which Ryken assured he would “look into” the issue as a “fellow sufferer.”