Learning to Pursue Your Passions with Cup of Culture

Panel of representatives from various non-profit organizations that gathered for the Cup of Culture event on Oct 11. Photo courtesy of Olivia Roberts.

Point Loma Nazarene University’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation and Office of Multicultural and International Student Services hosted their second Cup of Culture event of the year on Oct 11. The event, dedicated to motivating students who wish to pursue a career surrounding their passion for social justice, consisted of a panel of PLNU alumni and community leaders, a question and answer session and a networking opportunity afterward.  

Manager of Student Programs at the Center for Justice and Reconciliation Katie Hodson and Director of the Office for Multicultural and International Student Services Maya Walker opened up the event by displaying this year’s Cup of Culture theme of “our faith, our community, our systems and our identity.”

“I think the beauty in these events is that not only are they coming to learn, but it is a space where people can ask curious questions without judgment,” said Walker.  “It is a safe space so there is a lot of great, meaningful dialogue that happens and I think there’s a lot of mutual understanding and growth.”

The panel included one representative from each of the following nonprofit organizations: Olive Crest, Jewish Family Services, Plant with Purpose, The Rock Church and International Rescue Committee in San Diego. 

“We try to pick a diversity of organizations that work in different sectors and fields but still all non-profits,” said Hodson.

Each representative gave a brief overview of their organization, how they worked their way to the position they hold now and ended by addressing how to avoid burnout.

“I think that what a lot of [the panel speakers] were able to give a picture of is how different a journey of figuring out what your passion is, what you want to do, what you’re good at and what you don’t like, can look like,” said Hodson.  “It was great for the students to hear that you don’t have to have it all figured out.”

For many of the students who attended, getting to hear the words and experiences of the panel speakers was motivating and encouraging in their pursuits of seeking a job regarding their passions.

“I’ve always been interested in social justice but I’ve been struggling to find a tangible way of doing that because there are so many things that I am interested in,” said third- year Christian studies major Avril Olivo. “So, this was really helpful in seeing actual organizations out there that do this.” 

Fourth-year history major Faith Rockford shared a similar experience as Olivo. 

“I think that it solidified my idea that working at a non-profit or some sort of social justice organization is really important to me,” said Rockford. “It is a little overwhelming to see all the opportunities that there are, but in coming to this I’m able to hone in on which speakers I resonated more with and their profession.”

Representative for Olive Crest Greg Helton said that in an effort to avoid burnout in the workplace, he motivates his coworkers to first take care of themselves so that they can better serve the people they work for. This was a helpful reminder to students preparing to enter the field.

“I feel like [burnout] is something that I should be worrying about if I want to get into social justice because I am going to be dealing with very troubling things,” said Olivo. “I would immerse myself in those that I serve and knowing that I am going to have to put myself first in order to help others is important.”

The next Cup of Culture event will be held on Nov. 15 in Colt Hall with guest speaker Elijah Bonde, a registered member of the Te-Moak Tribe. Bonde will discuss the Native American experience in collegiate education.