The Equality Ride stop at MidAmerica Nazarene University was March 15-16, 2007.
MidAmerica Nazarene was the first stop that welcomed us onto campus. On our first day, March 15th, we volunteered with a group called Tulips on Troost. Troost Avenue is the traditional line of segregation, and so as an effort of reconciliation and general beautification, the project was started with an initial goal of 10,000 tulips along the street. They are now over 70,000 and a final goal of one million. Their aim is to change the way that people think about color on Troost, which I found beautiful. Certain members helped make boxes as part of a fundraiser, others planted tulips, and others picked up garbage along the street.
The evening of the 15th, MNU hosted a dinner for us where we were introduced to our student/staff hosts and presented “A Christian Thing to Do”, a presentation. The students were told ahead of time to be hospitable towards us, and we could feel their friendliness. A couple of Riders were invited to go to Weatherby Worship, a small student-run worship service, and they reported back that it was excellent.
The next day, we ate breakfast with our hosts, then held presentations in classrooms, chatted with students in the student center, and had a tear-filled goodbye with our hosts.
My impressions of the campus were wonderful. The administration did a good job of getting dialog going before our arrival, so students were very eager to talk to us. My host was wonderful (Hi Courtni!), and even though some of the students seemed to be a little too courteous and thus apprehensive to ask us some tough questions, I still feel like the stop was totally worth it, and judging from the comments I got from some other Riders, they really appreciated feeling what it was like to visit a welcoming campus.