Are you a “New Thing” kind of person? Not everyone is. And that’s OK. Recently InterVarsity rolled out it’s new logo, part of a larger branding campaign. “Our current visual identity is nearly 20 years old, not functioning well in today’s media landscape.” That sounds horrific. I’m glad we did something about it. But to be honest, I’m happy being part of an organization nearly 80 years old, yet alive and well in the landscape of North American universities and colleges. Every year some groups close down entirely. Every year new groups are planted. What keeps a movement alive and growing? New branding won’t keep InterVarsity from passing into irrelevance. What enables one student generation on a campus to give rise to the next? When a student generation is at best 8 semesters you’re constantly nagged by the threat of extinction.
Maybe something new is happening at UNO
Long before I had a clue I’d be leaving Christ Community Church, I met a social work professor one of my young professionals at CCC kept talking about. We were getting the church ready for a social justice campaign in our community and looking for teaching resources. Carmen got me in touch with Dr. Peter Szto, a professor in UNO’s school of Social Work. “He’s done research in the area of human trafficking – you might find his work helpful to understanding the issues.” Peter taught at one of our training workshops. I remember thinking this is such a cool thing that a Christian professor at a secular university could actually help connect the campus and the church with needs in our community.
I was delighted to find out that Dr. Szto is an alumnus of InterVarsity GFM at the University of Pennsylvania where he completed his PhD. Shortly after accepting my current position, I reconnected with Peter. When I told him what I’d be up to with IV, he was very supportive mentioning that in his department he knew of many Christian graduate students. “I could help you connect with a few if you’re interested.”
Dr. Szto. Shelby. Liz.
This is how new things start. People talk. People get connected. Groups get started – maybe. This August, Peter introduced me to Shelby, a student in the Masters of Social Work program. Peter, Shelby and I met. We had a nice chat getting to know each other and learning more about the vision and values of InterVarsity GFM. We signed off with a brief time in prayer and agreed to meet a month later.
Next time we met, I brought bagels and cream cheese. Shelby brought Liz, a student in her first year of the program. This time we looked at a list of ideas for planting a new GFM group. 13 Steps to Starting a Fellowship We prayed together again. Agreed to meet next month – the date actually falls on Shelby’s birthday. I told her I’d bring her a birthday cake (if she’d keep bringing more students to the group). Wait, did I say group?
There you have it. Maybe we’ll be celebrating two birthdays! Hopefully more in future posts as things develop! Please be praying for God to show us more corners on more campuses in the days ahead!
BTW… branding is serious business! We were given an entire one-pager on the new logo. My favorite paragraph about the new IV logo:
“What does it mean? This visual concept effectively expresses our collegiate context, as well as our need for the Scriptures, with a stylized book. It has a warm, inviting energy. A dawn arises from this, bringing light into the world. The asymmetry in shape and color convey movement. The slab font (Gaspo) draws on our collegiate roots with a lightness suited for campus today. We have elected to communicate these elements softly, to allow the logo to be filled up with the positive associations of interactions with InterVarsity people, events, books, memories, and stories.”
If you could just read this in the new font… you’ll gaspo with wonderment! Be blessed. Be well. Thanks for reading!