The Bluffton University ideal of education recognizes the need for developing the whole person – mind, soul and body. While giving primary emphasis to learning through study and instruction, Bluffton provides a wide variety of activities and organizations designed to develop all aspects of character and personality. Students are encouraged to select carefully among these co-curricular activities and to participate in as many as interest and time permit.
A democratic atmosphere prevails in the Bluffton University campus community. This is illustrated by the campus government, jointly shared by administration, faculty and students. The guiding policies of the university are established by the board of trustees with administration and faculty responsible for carrying out these policies while sharing in campus government with elected student representatives.
Composed of 17 members, the senate has primary responsibility in the areas of co-curricular activities. It also serves as the official voice for students. The senate consists of four members from each class and the president.
The residents of each hall are organized into hall associations for purposes of self-government and social activities.
Beaver Flap, prepared daily Monday through Friday, is distributed throughout campus on bulletin boards and e-mail to provide up-to-date information and announcements on campus events to students, faculty and staff.
Bluffton, the university magazine, is published four times a year by the university to keep alumni and friends informed about campus and alumni affairs. It is distributed free.
The Bluffton University Catalog, presents information on university policies, academic programs, course descriptions, academic policies, faculty, admissions, financial concerns and general information about the university.
The Witmarsum, the campus newspaper, is published weekly when classes are in session by a student staff with guidance from a faculty adviser. The newspaper is a part of the communication and theatre department and a member of the Associated Collegiate Press and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
Ista, the Bluffton University yearbook, serves as a journalistic record of the year’s activities. It is published annually by a student staff with guidance from an adviser.
The Shalith is a yearly literary magazine sponsored by the English and language department and produced by a committee of students and a faculty adviser. Since 1962 The Shalith has published writing and art work by Bluffton students, faculty and staff in a variety of formats. For decades those associated with the magazine believed that "Shalith" is an Egyptian word meaning “creative fertility,” but recent research has shown this is not so, and the origins of the term are shrouded in mystery.
Student Handbook, published each summer by the Student Life Office, gives an outline of all campus organizations, activities and regulations for the benefit of new and continuing students as well as faculty and staff.
Directory of Faculty, Staff and Students is published online in the fall by the university. It provides an official roster of students, faculty and staff. It also lists the names of those leading and participating in various campus committees and student organizations.
Bluffton University seeks to provide a holistic Christian atmosphere. This is encouraged through the lifestyle of faculty, staff and students and through religious activities. Certain settings are provided to give direction and organization to worship, study and service.
Chapel services are held each Thursday. These voluntary services provide a variety of worshipping styles using the resources of the campus pastor, faculty, staff and students and occasionally off-campus guest speakers and musical groups.
BASIC is an acronym for Brothers and Sisters in Christ. It is a student-sponsored organization that is Christ-centered and interdenominational. Students, faculty and staff who wish to participate are encouraged to form BASIC groups of eight to ten people who meet weekly each semester. BASIC groups are meant to provide personal support, fellowship and growth in the context of Christian community.
Diakonia (a Greek word for “in service for Christ”) is a student-sponsored group which promotes missions and service opportunities for students off-campus. Special on-campus mission awareness days are also planned and implemented.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is a group of students, both athletes and non-athletes, who meet regularly to discuss issues and give and receive support in the Christian life. FCA also sponsors occasional group events on and off campus.
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical grass-roots organization with the goal of eliminating poverty housing. The Bluffton University Chapter of Habitat for Humanity coordinates work groups and fund-raising efforts to help build or renovate houses in partnership with those in need. All students, faculty and staff are welcome to participate.
Hall chaplains live in the residence halls and are available for peer counseling and organizing religious life activities. Activities they might plan include Bible studies, special services, service projects and trips. They also seek to help new students get oriented to the religious aspect of the campus.
Ministry teams are teams of students who develop programs to conduct in churches using music, drama, clowning and puppetry. Through these ministry teams, students give witness to their faith in Christ and give encouragement to the larger body of believers.
Special emphasis days. One week each semester is designated as Spiritual Life Week. Students take a major role in planning for seminars on issues related to the Christian faith. Guest speakers and worship experiences are a part of the week’s activities.
Each spring representatives from church mission and service agencies are on campus for Service Emphasis Days and Mission Week. Students can explore specific short-term, long-term or career service and mission opportunities.
Spiritual Life Week committee The purpose of the Spiritual Life Week Committee is to plan for Spiritual Life Week, which is an experience of spiritual encouragement, enrichment and focus for the campus community in a week-long time of special emphasis bi-annually. The committee consists of eight to twelve people and there is a separate committee for each specified week.
Sunday morning on-campus worship. Student-led worship services are held on alternating Sundays throughout the school year. Students are also encouraged to worship in the community church of their choice.
Voluntary service Information about long- or short-term Mennonite voluntary service opportunities, as well as summer camp positions, is available from the campus pastor. Each year service and mission emphasis days are held to acquaint students with church agencies that provide a variety of domestic and overseas opportunities. An off-campus voluntary service project is organized during vacation break.
Bluffton University has a long tradition of excellence in music. It is known for its vocal and instrumental organizations and the high quality of these programs. Each organization is under the direction of a music faculty member.
Accent! is a men's chorus that performs a varied repertoire of choral musical at several on-campus performances each year, and occassional off-campus performances. Memebership is open to any male student.
Bel Canto is a women's chorus that performs a varied repertoire of choral musical at several on-campus perfromances each year, and occassional off- campus perfromanaces. Membership is open to any female student.
is a select choir of 24 voices that performs primarily sacred music both on and off campus. The Camerata Singers travel extensively to churches throughout the school year and make an extended tour during spring break.
Concert Band performs both traditional and contemporary band literature in concerts both on and off campus each year. Membership is open to any campus or community instrumentalist.
The Jazz Ensemble studies and performs music in various contemporary popular idioms, including improvisatory styles. Membership is by audition.
Choral Society is a university-community chorus that annually present portions of Handel’s Messiah and other oratorio/cantata works in March. Membership is open to all students and community members.
The Music Department has regular recitals in which students studying applied music perform. An honors recital is held at the end of the school year featuring selected outstanding music students. Faculty members present a recital each year and music majors present a full-length graduating recital as well as a shorter recital in their junior year.
The Lima Symphony Orchestra provides opportunity for qualified instrumentalists to perform in an orchestra. Membership is by audition.
The Bluffton Artist Series brings to campus each year a number of outstanding concert artists and ensemble groups.
Musical Each year the communication and theatre department and music department present musicals and operas such as No, No Nanette,and Jane Eyre. Participants are chosen by audition. The musical production is presented each spring as part of May Day activities.
Communication and theatre activities
Each year the communication and theatre department presents at least two major dramatic productions and , in conjunction with the music department, one musical. All students are eligible to audition for the casts and/or serve in various technical capacities in these productions.
Bluffton University has a number of departmental clubs that offer students opportunities for study and fellowship in areas of specialized interest.
Bluffton Education Organization seeks to develop in prospective educators an understanding of the education profession, to advance the interests and welfare of students preparing for a career in education and to stimulate the highest ideals of professional ethics, standards and attitudes. There are both formal and informal meetings in which students share ideas and concerns.
Bluffton University English Club offers students a chance to gather for camaraderie and informal discussions about all types of literature. The club sponsors activities pertaining to a broad range of productions, and dinners with facutly and students.
El Club de Espanol 's purpose is to expose the club members to various Spanish speaking cultures and to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the Spanish culture and language by integrating the Spanish culture into their lives, to bring the organization to the community through various service projects, and to enhance the student body perspecitve with the Hispanic/Spanish culture with opportunities in which they will experience part of the culture first or second hand.
Economics, Business Administration and Accounting Club provides its members the opportunity to gain broader perspectives and insights into the business field. This is accomplished through club meetings and gatherings where business-related issues are discussed.
Family and Consumer Sciences Association (FCSA) is designed to provide professional development and service activities for students majoring in apparel/textiles merchandising and design, family and consumer sciences (general and education) and food and nutrition. Programming focuses on current issues and trends across the profession and includes state- and district-level meetings. Bluffton is affiliated with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences – Student Member Section.
Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association (OCMEA) is an organization of students preparing to teach public school music as well as those majoring in music with a liberal arts emphasis. Monthly meetings include programs by teachers in the field. It is affiliated with the Ohio Music Education Association and the Music Educators National Conference. Members of OCMEA attend conventions and conferences of these state and national organizations in addition to local chapter activities.
Psychology Club is an organization for students to meet others interested in psychology and learn more about the field through field trips, speakers and other activities. Club members also enjoy social events with one another and work to provide education to the campus community regarding psychology issues.
Recreation Club was formed to provide opportunities to gain broader perspectives and insights into the recreation field. Meetings include activities such as speakers, social events, field trips, community events and information about graduate school and job opportunities. This organization also encourages spiritual fellowship among recreation students and their instructors as well as the entire school.
Social Work Club is composed of students interested in the profession of social work and related fields. The club's purpose is to provide students with opportunities to affiliate with other social work students and other professional social workers and to build an identity with the profession. Objectives are met through activities geared to learning, service and socialization. Programming generally includes contacts with professionals through speakers, agency visits, videos/films, local/state/national conferences, service projects and social events. Popular events include the annual "pumpkin walk" and the bi-annual learning trip to Chicago.
Sport Management Club is a student-led group made up mainly of sport management majors. Its purpose, through the leadership of the sports information director, is to be informed about upcoming internship possibilities, both at Bluffton and at other colleges and professional organizations, as well as to plan and participate in trips and various activities.
Student Investment club is open to any Bluffton University student who is interested in learning how financial markets work. Students get hands on experience in learning about investments through the club's management of one of Bluffton's endowment funds.
Special interest organizations
Specialized interests bring students together in the following organizations:
The African-American Student Organization (AASO) is established to provide a socialization forum and to promote and share African American culture with the Bluffton community through various cultural programs.
Bluffton University Bauman Medical Society enables students interested in health related vocations to experience and investigate different aspects of the field of medicine, and prepare themselves in the best way possible to be candidates for a career in a health related field.
Bluffton University College Republicans increases awareness and promotes the principles of the Republican Party, aids in the election of Republican candidates at all levels of government and develops political skills and leadership abilities among Republican students as preparation for future service by them to the party and community.
Bluffton University Japanese Anime Club The purpose of this organization is to enrich the campus community by offering students the opportunity to learn about eastern culture through films and DVDs which portray the unique religion, myths, art, history, etc. of the Japanese culture.
Bluffton University Macintosh Users Club reperesents the interest of Bluffton University students, staff, administration and faculty by providing an organization through which intersts may be voiced regarding use of the Macintosh platform within the Bluffton University framework.
Bluffton University Ultimate Frisbee The purpose of this club is to provide for those individuals who wish to have fun and fellowship, yet play competitively, with peers at Bluffton as well as with other schools.
Bluffton University Young Democrats The purpose of the Bluffton University Young Democrats will be to pursue the ideals of liberty, justice, and freedom for all. The pursuit of these ideas is through support of the Democratic Party and its ideas, ideals, and candidates.
Habitat for Humanity
Bluffton University International Connection draws together students from other lands and American students interested in foreign cultures. It sponsors programs and activities, including the annual international students' week.
P.E.A.C.E. stands for Peace Education and Action Community Endeavor. The organization’s purposes are to educate students about current peace-related issues and to encourage and organize appropriate action in response to these issues through consciousness-raising endeavors.
Radio station (WBWH) our campus radio station, gives students the opportunity to experience all of the responsibilities and privileges of broadcasting, under the guidance of the communication and theatre department. Purposes of the FM station include informing the campus community of international, national, local and campus news, providing a forum for public discourse on issues and matters of significance to the campus community and entertaining the campus community by playing music of diverse genres, histories and heritages. The station is located in Marbeck Center.
Women's Issues Circle The purpose of this group is to discuss any issues of particular concern to women and to initiate activism on these issues. Activism can take the form of raising students' awareness of women's issues, or seeking to improve conditions of women on the Bluffton campus or in any other setting. It is our intention to provide the student body with information on women's issues and opportunities to discuss these issues, as well as to work towards the betterment of women's lives by creating greater awareness of the specific burdens society has placed upon women. Researching, discussing, and creating awareness of medical, legal, religious, and other cultural issues are within the domain of this group.
Meeting each Tuesday throughout the academic year, Forum is a weekly event in which the entire university community--students, faculty and staff--comes together to hear presentations and programs that deal with important themes and issues of the day. The majority of speakers are from outside of Bluffton. They range across the academic disciplines, and are chosen becasue of their expertise in an area of significance for teh university curriculum.
Special forums, such as the C. Henry Smith Mennonite Peace Lecture,and the Keeney Mennonite Peace Lecture, enable the articutlation of heritage values central to Bluffton. Programming is determined byt the Forum Director, inconsultation with a committee of faculty and students. Forum events are among those in the list of events that qualify for arts and lecurte credit. See also LAS 200 Forum/Fine Arts Performance.
Intercollegiate athletics are an exciting and vital part of life at Bluffton University. Men's intercollegiate athletic schedules are maintained in football, basketball, track, indoor track, cross-country, baseball, soccer and tennis. Sports for women include volleyball, basketball, track, cross-country, fast-pitch softball, soccer, indoor track and tennis.
To be eligible for intercollegiate athletics the student must meet the requirements of the NCAA Division III. To be eligible for competition a student must be enrolled in at least 12 semester hours during the term in which he/she participates and be making normal progress toward graduation. For more details see the director of athletics.
To prepare student athletes for the challenges of life beyond the playing field, the NCAA has developed the Life Skills Program, a program Bluffton University has titled BChamps. This program is designed to help student athletes bridge the gap from college life to professional life, as well as provide opportunities to make meaningful contributions to the community. The Life Skills Program focuses on five areas of personal growth: academic excellence, athletic excellence, personal development, service and career development.
The intramural program is under the direction of the health, physical education and recreation department. Two directors head this program and student assistants help in its coordination. The intramural program contributes to the health and fitness of the participants and provides diversion from academic work. This program provides the opportunity for making participation in sports a meaningful part of a student’s total education.
Activities included in the intramural program are flag football, powderpuff football, volleyball, 3 on 3 basketball, 5 on 5 basketball, bowling, softball and coed tournaments in various sports. For more information students should check the Handbook of Intramural Sports available from the intramural directors.
Marbeck Center serves as the social, recreational, informational and community center of the campus. The center houses campus dining facilities, a snack shop, lounges, bookstore, post office, information services, meeting rooms, student activity services, student organization offices, religious life offices, art gallery, an ATM machine, change machine, stamp machine, copy and duplicating services, lost and found, a mini computer lab with e-mail and Internet access along with a variety of other facilities.
Marbeck Center is used for cultural programming for students, faculty, staff and guests of the university, and it serves as a home base for personal involvement in and commitment to the life of the university.
While the basic function of the center is to meet the needs of the campus community, Marbeck Center also serves an important role as a meeting place for civic, community and religious groups.
Marbeck Center Board (MCB), a student board, is responsible for initiating and implementing a program of activities and involvement for the enrichment of student life on campus. MCB is composed of a student chairperson, 15 students selected from the student body and a staff adviser.
Marbeck Center is a member of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI).