Contributed by Jennifer Pierce
On October 12th, CARP LA held their first Revival Starts With Me event on campus at Cypress College. Revival Starts With Me (RSWM) is a collaborative movement started in summer of 2016 and gave birth to three events, including this one. The goal of RSWM is to bring students, professors, pastors, and eventually politicians together, find common ground and create a better future in unison.
The first event was at the City of Refuge Church with 1200 people; the second was at the Los Angeles Family Church with over 300 people. The latest rally, although smaller with 182 participants and staff, was a milestone for CARP LA because it was held on campus.
For a while, however, there was doubt whether CARP LA could hold this event.
CARP LA began planning for this rally in early August with a vague picture about how it would look, but they gathered the RSWM team, set a date, and began putting it together.
CARP’s mission and vision is always to better the lives of the student, enrich them through education, activities, and an environment that genuinely cares about their future. While promoting this rally, however, some faculty expressed doubt about CARP’s commitment to that vision and mission.
Despite that scrutiny and loss of some supporters, CARP Cypress and the other LA chapters were able to clarify their goals and intention and move forward with the rally with amazing success.
The rally doors opened at 1:30 PM on Friday. Staff had started setting up from 11 AM, preparing the technical equipment and decor.
When doors opened, MC Sarah Takhar hosted a game of Kahoot with the audience. The first round was to get to know the audience with questions like what major they have and where they are from. The second round was about CARP. Because Kahoot is a program that allows everyone to see the most popular answer, Sarah congratulated the participant with the most correct answers.
Kahoot created an excited mood in anticipation for the rally. At 2:00 PM, the rally officially started with a video (below) leading into Sarah’s welcome and introduction of guests.
She then introduced Joshua Holmes, Director of RSWM and CARP Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) Vice President, to introduce the purpose of the event: closing the gap between students and professors.
During his talk, he presented two videos. One was a compilation of interviews with professors from different campuses about what their goals and dreams are for students; the other was one with students about their goals and dreams and about their ideal relationship with professors. At the end of the videos, Joshua pointed out that professors and students both want to make students successful and only by working together is that goal achievable.
“Seeing how excited our advisor was about attending the Cypress Colloquium, I realize that if there is a disconnect between professors and students in our schools today, it’s because we, the students, are not putting enough effort into this relationship, and that I was unconsciously a part of the problem. When I was a student, I only saw my professors as tools and resources for me to succeed in my academic career, not as someone who I was supposed to love, respect, and inherit from as my parent.” - Satomi Kikuchi, CARP Cal State LA (CSULA) Alumna
CARP Cypress President Ori Morton led the discussion following Joshua’s speech. Audience members were given ten minutes to share with the person next to them about what their thoughts were on how to bridge this relationship of student and professor and some of the obstacles they face in it.
“It was important to me as a Professor to attend as I get to see that most students really want to do well and develop themselves and do not know how. That was the case with me, too, when I was that age. It reminds me to be more giving, more patient, more understanding. And it asks me to be willing to offer more guidance and really be a mentor, intellectually and spiritually.” - Professor Grace Apiafi, Pasadena City College (PCC)
“This time, the CARP advisor from my university (CSULA) was able to attend, and we had a very meaningful discussion. He really resonated with how the educational institution is an extension of the family, where the relationship of professor-student is analogous to that of parent-child, and understood the importance of the role of professors to students. I realized that I myself have to make more effort to reach out and seek to understand my professors' heart.” - Takayo Hiraki, CARP CSULA President
After discussion, Maha Afra, Cypress College professor, and her dance group offered a performance to The Greatest Showman’s “This is Me.”
Following the performance, Sarah welcomed up keynote speaker Dr. Thomas Selover, President of SunHak Universal Peace Graduate Academy and Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA). Dr. Selover shared in depth about some of CARP and PWPA’s core values.
He started with interdependence. Interdependence is the concept that people need each other in order to exist. There can be no professors without students and no students without professors. By understanding and practicing interdependence, everyone is an essential part of the world.
The next value was co-righteousness. Righteousness is believing in and fighting for values. Even though people disagree, by looking for the righteousness in the other person, they will naturally treat each other with respect and admiration.
Dr. Selover closed his talk with win-win-win scenarios. Usually, people consider win-win scenarios to be all encompassing, but Dr. Selover finds it could lead to collusion. Therefore, a third party that ensures the benefit of all should also be included.
After Dr. Selover’s speech, CARP East Los Angeles College (ELAC) President Takahito Kikuchi gave a speech from the student perspective. He shared how even though he gets told a lot that youth are the future, it was hard for him to believe.
Through CARP, however, Takahito found an environment that constantly encouraged him to grow supported by an unchanging source, like a family. Takahito’s closing remark was that youth are the future, and when the youth work together, they can make the future one where everyone belongs and becomes their best self.
“It was an amazing experience being a part of this event. My favorite part of the event was the speech from Taka from the ELAC team. His speech was very inspiring and motivating especially when he talked about how anything is possible.” - Ivan, CSULA
The event closed with the MuJoGeon dance performed by CARP. The audience clapped and cheered to this exciting finale.
Moving into the future, CARP hopes to continue to deepen relationships between professors and students and ensure a future where everyone is their best self.
Over fifteen schools and universities were represented at this rally, including seven professors from five different schools and six pastors from four different churches. Following this event, CARP LA plans to expand their network of professors and become models of the ideal relationship between professor and student.
“It was good for me to see so many students seeking direction about their role in this world beyond the classroom and getting good grades. It warms me to see a purpose beyond the individual self, the need to build a responsible community.” - Professor Apiafi, PCC
“Before I joined CARP, I never would’ve imagined myself getting to know other pastors and my professors and being able to hear their opinions made me realize how close-minded I was towards others and their thoughts. After much discussion during and after the rally, I felt that our advisor was fully on board with what CARP stands for.” - Kodai Abe, CARP El Camino College (ECC)
“After this event I feel it is so important to continue investing into these relationships. Especially for myself since the CSULA CARP advisor Professor Timothy Paynich came to the event. I plan to work with CSULA CARP to continue to work with Professor Paynich and make CARP's presence on CSULA a powerful one.” - Sarah Takhar, CARP CSULA
“I believe that this experience will propel us forward in creating a more supportive community for professors and students on campus. I think it helped us to get on the same page in regards to our vision for an ideal classroom and campus community.” - Harumi Muranaka, CARP CSULB President
“I have more confidence to start connecting with my own professors, holding on to the understanding of how important of a role the professor and student relationship plays. I can build a connection by being an active student in all my classes. Additionally, I want to ask the visions my professors holds for his or her students.” - Kengo Kawa, CARP ECC Vice President
“This event even allowed me to approach a professor I respect very much but never really had the guts to talk personally with. Though he couldn’t come, it opened up a door for communication between us.” - Jasmine Santoro, CARP ECC
CARP, as a collegiate association, is part of the college network. Building strong and mutually beneficial relationships between professor and student fulfills one of CARP’s missions to create a positive, thriving environment on campuses. This step is one of many toward that vision.