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Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice Brings Awareness to Human Trafficking through Documentary Screening and Sponsorship Luncheon

rsz_vu_diamond_event-14-0384In the second week of September, Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ) hosted two events inspired by the same heart and created for the same purpose: to bring awareness that will lead to justice for women and children affected by human trafficking.

On September 11, the GCWJ hosted a free documentary screening of Jody Hassett Sanchez’s SOLD: Fighting the Global Slave Trade followed by a Q&A session with director/producer Sanchez. On September 13, the GCWJ hosted the annual More Priceless Than Diamonds gala luncheon to raise support for the center’s continued work in fighting human trafficking.

Playing at the Lido Theater in Newport Beach, SOLD tells the stories of three individuals, a Christian, a Hindu and a Muslim, who have committed their lives to battling human trafficking. They survive death threats, plot daring rescue raids and challenge powerful interests in their battle to end slavery in the 21st century.SOLD1

One student, a women’s studies minor and sociology major, Araceli Bravo, found the documentary to be very different than any she had seen before on the topic. It didn’t just give statistics and data, “it gave you stories,” she said. She also noted that most human-trafficking documentaries she had seen were either Christian or secular, whereas SOLD dealt with three different religions.

Talking about the documentary’s featured individuals, Bravo said:  “All they want is to rescue those girls.” She said she enjoyed seeing a documentary that highlighted the unity of cause among different religions. “Even though we’re so different in our worldviews, we can come together in one cause: stopping human trafficking,” Bravo said.

Two days after the screening, the GCWJ hosted the More Priceless Than Diamonds luncheon in the Balboa Bay Club’s Grand Ballroom. The annual luncheon provides support for the center to continue in its mission to create a just world where women and children are safe, respected and valued. This year’s luncheon featured SOLD producer Sanchez as the keynote speaker, KOCE’s Ed Arnold as the emcee, and Maria Hall Brown of PBS SoCal along with survivor advocate and author Shyima Hall for an exclusive live interview.

VU Diamond event-14-0404 editWhen describing the event, president of the Live2Free club Brittany Miller said the community’s involvement through funding and support inspired her. For the event, Miller spoke to attendants about Live2Free’s high school student training and its work in raising awareness among the students. Reflecting on the luncheon, Miller said: “It continued to stoke my own personal passion for this issue.”

To learn more about the GCWJ and their upcoming events, click here.

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Veterans Club Rides Waves to Connect Community and Wounded Veterans

WOV HBOn September 27, Vanguard University’s Veterans Club will join with Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB) and the VA of the greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to help host Team RWB’s 2nd annual Waves of Valor Surf Camp.

From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the greater Los Angeles community are invited to come to lifeguard tower 24 in Huntington’s Bolsa Chica State Beach for a day of serving wounded veterans. Team RWB is looking for people to volunteer in various capacities: surfing instruction, administrative check-ins, beach logistics, first aid and multiple other tasks. The OC Team RWB Chapter Captain and Vanguard Veterans Club Treasurer Christopher Merkle said they have already received a great response for volunteers and would be happy to have more.

At this event, people from the community will be able to connect with the veterans on a personal level in the water and on the beach. The one-on-one surfing instruction develops a sense of fellowship between the community members and the veterans, which “helps in the reintegration process,” Merkle said.  After about four hours of surfing, the veterans and community members will gather on the beach to enjoy food and a space to continue their conversations.

As seen in the past, the camp helps  “wounded veterans own a day of independence in the water,” Merkle said. The veterans experience “freedom flying on the water,” and a huge sense of accomplishment as they progress throughout the day, he said. They also experience the love and genuine care of community members who volunteer their time and energy to create a day focused on blessing these veterans.

Vanguard’s Veterans Club will join with the community volunteers and Team RWB to bless the 30 selected veterans from the VA of the greater Los Angeles Healthcare System at the event. Merkle said the club is looking to be more involved with the community this year through service-oriented projects. “By helping others, we help ourselves,” he said as he described the power of community service in pulling veterans back into their communities.

Join the Vanguard serving team, by clicking here and signing up for a volunteer position.

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Four Vanguard University Students Receive NHCLC Scholarships

NHCLClogoOn September 5, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) recognized four Vanguard University students in their announcement of the 2014-2015 NHCLC Scholars.

According to their scholarship announcement, the NHCLC provides competitive scholarship opportunities to “outstanding students attending sponsor universities to assist them in continuing their academic pursuits.” Vanguard University’s 2014-2015 NHCLC scholars are Christine Correa, Samuel Flores, Heidi Lupe and Sylvana Marquina.

Shocked by her selection, worship studies major Christine Correa said the scholarship blessed her beyond the financial aid. From the scholarship prompt options, Correa chose to write about the Imago Dei, the image of God. Having a reason to explore this concept more was enough for Correa, she said, “I knew whether I received the scholarship or not, I was very excited about the prompt.”

When describing her discoveries in studying the image of God, Correa’s passion about the topic shined a light on the scholarship-worthy content of her essay. “Last year, it just kind of soaked in my spirit,” she said, “God has an image and vision for each person.” The importance of understanding Imago Dei is to understand that it means “to love others unconditionally and see them as the image of God,” she added.

After sharing about her essay, Correa said she wanted to encourage students to apply for next year’s scholarship. For one thing, “you never know what you can learn from a prompt,” she said. “If you don’t put yourself out there, you don’t know what money or scholarship you could get to help pay for school,” she added.

To learn more about the NHCLC, visit their website by clicking here.

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Vanguard University Ranks 33 in Top 50 Ranking of Christian Colleges and Universities Exceeding Expectations

VUSCAccording to Christian Universities Online (CUO), Vanguard University ranks number 33 in a top 50 ranking of Christian Colleges and Universities Exceeding Expectations that released on August 31, 2014.

CUO created the “Exceeding Expectations Value” by using the difference between predicted and actual graduation rates. CUO acquired data for the schools’ predicted graduation rates from U.S. News. To be in the ranking, schools had to meet initial standards, such as being accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) and being a member/affiliate of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

Christian Universities Online states that their goal for this list is to “provide an alternative perspective to help parents and students make the most informed decision they can when selecting a Christian institution of higher education.” CUO seeks to do this by “focusing on how much or little they enhance the achievement of their students from acceptance till graduation.”

Christian Universities Online is “an independent online resource for prospective students and their families researching Christian higher education.” To view the ranking, click here.

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Students Start Year with a Bounce

rsz_0904142154Starting the new academic year with some friendly competition, Vanguard University’s Residence Life hosted their first all-school dodge ball tournament on September 4 in the gym at 9:30 p.m.

With a turnout that packed The Pit, the tournament featured a night of new friendships, healthy rivalries and strengthened community. It also featured a unique twist. Added to the traditional dodge ball game rules, this tournament added a spinning wheel of strange handicaps that determined what teams had to do during each match. Wheel slots included various challenges like playing with one arm, having only one foot touching the ground and having to keep your whole team in straight lines like soldiers.

Assigned different team colors, each campus building rallied together to compete against the other buildings. Desiring to gather all of the Vanguard community, Residence Life invited commuters to team up with Vanguard Center (VC), the university’s off-campus housing. Laguna, Huntington, Balport, Catalina Hall and the Vanguard Center/ Commuter team faced off on the court sporting their colors and putting their building/team names into classic cheers.

Entering as the underdogs, the Vanguard Center/Commuter team battled their way to the top finishing the night as the undefeated champions. Before the tournament, Vanguard Center hosted a kick-off BBQ with games, burgers and music at 6:30 p.m. to rally commuters and VC residents. Describing the tournament and BBQ, VC Resident Assistant (RA) Jaime Saravia said it was great “seeing people who don’t normally get plugged in, get plugged in.” He said the tournament succeeded in getting commuters more involved right from the start of the year. “I think it will become a tradition,” Saravia added.

To learn more about Residence Life and more upcoming events, click here.