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Be a ‘spark’

American composer, Kurt Kaiser, writes: “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.” I’d like to invite you to be a “spark” and get a fire going. The following are the words of my guest columnist this week, Lisa Wood, the First Lady of Davis & Elkins College.

Choosing where to attend college can be a daunting task for anyone. Do I want: a large or a small school; near home, a few hours away, or a flight across the country; an urban setting or a retreat-like environment? Do I need fast-paced, flashy, and new? How will I know what’s right for me?

The answer to all these questions is personal and unique to each student. Most of the time, you just know. You visit a school, talk to faculty, staff, and students, and suddenly – you’re home.

We hear that a lot from perspective students. Once they make a visit to the D&E campus and experience the “magic” that is D&E – they apply … and the journey begins.

Here’s the thing: they need to get here to experience it. And that, my friends, is where YOU come in. You know D&E. You know the adventure that awaits them. You have faith in the professors who will guide them. You know the staff who will provide care as wide-eyed freshman are transformed to seniors ready to find their place in the world.

This is a tough time for small colleges. There are more choices than ever. Davis & Elkins needs your help to “spark” an interest in the people around you who are looking for that unique collegiate experience that defines D&E. Who around you are thinking about college? Family members? Neighbors? Children of friends or co-workers?

2020 changed our world in ways we could never have imagined. Small colleges everywhere are struggling – struggling financially and struggling with enrollment. The D&E family has stepped up financially during this time, and we are truly grateful! But there are other ways to support the college. SPARK is one of those ways. SPARK, Senators Promoting Admission Recruitment & Knowledge, is your way to “light a spark.”

I can literally visualize a flint in one hand, knife in the other. The blade scrapes along the flint and the spark catches the small bed of kindling below. Soon the fire is going. You add a little more fuel, and suddenly, you “warm up in its glowing.”

You can be the spark, too. You can light a fire for that young person seeking a unique educational opportunity. You can tell your story. You can put D&E on the radar for someone who has never considered it before. Invite them to come to campus and see what you saw, hear what you heard, learn what you know. Davis & Elkins College is a special place, but let’s not keep it a secret!

Our goal for the SPARK initiative is 100 referrals in 100 days. This is a do-able goal for spring that will go a long way to bolstering our enrollment numbers next fall. It only takes a spark to get a fire going!

The journey continues….

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