As posted by Bethel University (https://www.bethel.edu/news/articles/2022/november/partnerships)
“Community” is a meaningful term at Bethel: The sense of community is one of the top reasons students enroll, and it’s one of the things alumni remember most. But Bethel’s community connections extend beyond the walls of the university through a variety of mutually beneficial partnerships. Here are some of the latest examples of Bethel partnerships that enhance the student experience and make a Bethel education more accessible.
1. New Perspective Senior Living
In 2020, New Perspective purchased 6.4 acres of Bethel-owned land near the Anderson Center to build a senior living community. Projected to open in March 2023, the independent and assisted living facility is poised to offer a variety of opportunities for integration with the Bethel community. Students will directly benefit from internship and future employment opportunities at New Perspective in fields like healthcare, business, human resources, and marketing. Residents will directly benefit from opportunities to interact with students, pursue learning opportunities, and attend events on Bethel’s campus.
Doug Anderson, New Perspective’s vice president of marketing, communications, and culinary, is looking forward to the opportunity for residents to interact with Bethel students. “Having two children as Bethel graduates and a third at Bethel Seminary, I know firsthand how compassionate and service-minded Bethel students and grads can be,” he says. “Their worldview sets them up to perfectly live out our motto of wonderful people serving wonderful people.”
According to Jessica Daniels, associate provost of innovation and partnership, Bethel’s partnership with New Perspective has been intentional since the beginning. “It will provide meaningful enrichment opportunities for both Bethel students and New Perspective residents,” she says.
2. Trout Lake Camps
This fall, the partnership between Bethel and Trout Lake Camps resulted in a scholarship for camp interns who attend Bethel following their summer of service. After their first summer, students will receive a $2,000 scholarship toward their Bethel tuition. For each summer they return to Trout, an intern will receive an additional $2,000 for the following academic year, as long as funds allow. The goal of the scholarship is to incentivize students to return to Trout each summer throughout their college experience. “Trout interns tend to be a great fit for the Bethel community and Bethel students tend to be a great fit for Trout,” Daniels says.
Jon Wicklund ’97, S’02, executive director of Trout Lake Camps, is an alumnus of both Bethel’s College of Arts & Sciences and Bethel Seminary, and he describes the partnership as a “huge win-win.” Bethel students who intern at Trout have opportunities in marketing, business, and other areas, providing them hands-on experience that can also help meet their graduation requirements. “The Bethel student who serves as a Trout summer staff will be used by God in amazing ways to expand His kingdom as thousands of kids make significant spiritual decisions each summer,” Wicklund says. “Our summer staff come back to Bethel more on fire for Jesus and with a world-wide connection to Christ-followers, as 25% of our staff are from other countries.”
Bethel’s partnership with Trout has led to a variety of collaborations, including Trout sponsoring Bethel’s September 24 football game versus Saint John’s University. All Trout Lake Camp alumni and their families were invited to the event, which featured a halftime mascot race between Roy the Lion and Timmy the Trout, a laptop giveaway for students, bouncy houses for the kids, and a campus tour for families.
Trout also has invited Bethel representatives and enrollment counselors to connect with students at fall and summer camps. “Not only does Bethel see their student body grow and develop spiritually and relationally, but we are also encouraging our 4,500 Trout families to consider Bethel for their higher education needs,” Wicklund says. “I personally can’t think of a better partnership for two Christ-following organizations, and I look forward to this relationship strengthening. Go Trout! Go Royals!”
3. North American Hockey League
This fall, the North American Hockey League named Bethel University its preferred university services partner. This means hundreds of athletes will be able to further their education while simultaneously pursuing their hockey dreams. Interested students will be able to enroll in a variety of Bethel’s flexible online programs, allowing them to build an academic schedule that fits with their hockey schedule. Early college and PSEO options are available for those still finishing high school, while others who have completed high school can pursue their postsecondary education in Bethel’s online undergraduate programs.
NAHL students have access to a variety of resources to ensure their academic success, including advising, tutoring, writing help, and more. “The care and attention the players can receive while enrolled at Bethel sets our programs apart while showcasing part of what makes Bethel special,” says Bethel Men’s Hockey Coach Chris McKelvie.
4. The Royal Exchange
On August 31, 2022, Bethel’s Department of Athletics announced the launch of the Royal Exchange through a partnership with INFCLR (pronounced “influencer”), a leading athlete brand-building and business management app. The Royal Exchange provides a platform for student athletes to connect with businesses and nonprofits that may provide opportunities and compensation tied to their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Opportunities could vary from social media endorsements to jobs running sports camps.
While the partnership provides the potential for compensation, athletics leaders also hope students will use the app to pursue opportunities to reflect Bethel’s mission as a Christ-centered university. “This will allow student-athletes at Bethel to support their favorite charities by using their name, image, and likeness to benefit these organizations at no cost,” says Assistant Athletic Director for Engagement Nick Cocalis. “We hope this creates a culture of giving for our student-athletes and gives them a safe and easy platform to make a kingdom impact with their athletic careers at Bethel.”
5. Christian High Schools
In fall 2020, Bethel launched a partnership with Maranatha Christian Academy in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, to offer students the opportunity to experience PSEO classes without needing to leave their high school. Courses are taught by Bethel faculty, some on-site and some online. Students who complete the courses will receive college credits, and those who begin classes their junior year of high school have the opportunity to graduate with their Associate of Arts degree. “This is a great opportunity for students to academically prepare for college, earn college credits, and gain exposure to the Bethel experience—while still rooted in their high school community,” Daniels says.
Bethel’s partnerships with Christian high schools look different based on each individual school’s expressed interests. For example, Bethel is partnering with New Life Academy in Woodbury, Minnesota, to offer a three-day camp similar to Royal Academy in January 2023. Up to 150 New Life Academy students will come to campus for a college-like experience led by Bethel faculty in the areas of STEM, business, and fine arts.
6. Celebrate Church
Starting in January 2023, the Celebrate Church community in South Dakota will be able to take Bethel University courses on site, taught by their senior leadership team. Students will have three registration options. They can audit courses, meaning they can sit in on lectures for the sake of their own personal enrichment, but they won’t complete assignments. They can enroll in courses and complete the coursework to pursue a certificate in church planting, awarded by Celebrate Church. Or, they can enroll in the course as a degree-seeking student and work toward the completion of a B.A. in Christian Ministries from Bethel.
“We want to empower, support, and complement the local church and partner with them to offer this meaningful, relevant, Bible-based education,” Daniels says. Two courses will be offered this spring, during the pilot program, with plans to offer four courses per semester going forward.
Bethel recently forged a partnership with FreedomWorks, a nonprofit located in North Minneapolis that focuses on creating a safe and encouraging environment for men recently released from incarceration. FreedomWorks provides housing and rehabilitation services, and Bethel has been working with their leadership team to support students as they apply to and enroll in courses at Bethel.
“FreedomWorks engages with individuals who are rebuilding their lives following times of addiction, challenges with the justice system, and lacking many independent living skills that help foster success,” says Randy Washington, FreedomWorks program director. “Bethel University is providing a new hope and opportunity for many of our participants as they are creatively engaged with and offered a pathway to degree attainment or completion.”
In addition to flexible course options, students from FreedomWorks also have access to Bethel’s Academic Resource Center, counseling services, the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services, and Bethel’s single parent support group. “Through this partnership, we are living out what it means to build stronger communities as we prepare passionate world-changers,” says Janna Collins, director of admissions for the College of Adult & Professional Studies, Bethel Seminary, and Graduate School. “It is our deep desire that FreedomWorks students find a warm and accepting community here that challenges them to grow while providing a variety of support services to meet their unique needs.