Intervarsity benefit brings NU students together to celebrate Easter

Andrew Scoggin

Pamela Paulsrud stands next to her work, Touchstones, at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center’s “Rock Paper Scissors” exhibit. Paulsrud draws on her nursing back ground for inspiration. CAITLIN KEARNEY/The Daily Northwestern

Aside from some complimentary candy-filled eggs on the tables, the Multiethnic InterVarsity Food for Thought Easter Benefit on Sunday night was devoid of references to the holiday’s stereotypes. There weren’t any spring-like colors, woven baskets filled with fake grass or chocolate bunnies. The only decorations strung on the walls were some clear balloons and black and white streamers.

The event even deviated from the holiday’s culinary cliches. Instead of the traditional ham, food was catered by Thai restaurant Ruby of Siam, 1125 Emerson St. MEIV President Rachel Wiggans said the event wasn’t just a celebration of the holiday but also an opportunity to spur a discussion with the Northwestern community.

“This is a way for us to talk about Easter with the campus and friends,” the SESP senior said. “With Easter in Spring Quarter, it can get lost in the shuffle.”

About 150 students and community members attended. Barney Lin, outreach and justice coordinator for MEIV, said the group raised about $700 at the event, with 60 percent of the proceeds going toward donations to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization. But with the cost of food estimated to be $850, the event lost money, Lin said.

“None of our events are looking to raise money,” the Communication senior said. “The point is to engage our campus.”

The event kicked off “Engage NU,” which runs April 12-18 and is sponsored by NU InterVarsity. Lin said the purpose of the week is to “talk about spirituality in all aspects of life.” Each chapter of NU InterVarsity puts on its own event.

“If something is important to my friend, I want to find out,” Lin said. “No one really wants to be a proselytizer. I think everyone here is really excited because we’re interested in what everyone else thinks.”

The banquet started with a video produced by MEIV that asked NU students about Easter, and moved on to testimonials from group members about what Easter means to them. Miller did not give one of the testimonials, but explained why Easter is important to her.

“Easter is a reminder to me how much Jesus has done for me in my life,” she said. “But it’s not really about us trying to shove the Gospel down everyone’s throat. It’s about creating an open dialogue.”

For many NU students, including SESP freshman Eric Liang, this is the first Easter away from home. Liang said even though the surroundings may be different, the meaning of the holiday is the same.

“Back home I went to the same church,” Liang said. “But the reason I celebrate didn’t really change.”

Lin said no matter where he celebrates, the holiday is about family.

“Being at school is a very different atmosphere,” he said. “We spend time together as a chapter because that’s our family here.”

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