On Saturday, Oct. 19, the Stewards of Creation Club hosted the annual fall festival, filling Randall Environmental Center to the brim with autumnal cheer. Freshly pressed apple cider in hand, Taylor students, faculty and members of the surrounding community enjoyed a cornucopia of fall-themed desserts and activities.
The free event featured a variety of food-related stations such as an apple-tasting table with a wide selection of apple treats, homemade baked goods and pumpkin carving. A scavenger hunt also took place with prizes including a yoga mat, reusable straws and potted plants. Participants were also welcome to get creative with fall-themed coloring pages or play lawn games outside.
The Stewards of Creation Club partnered with the Environmental Science, Public Health and Sustainability department to make the event possible. This year marks the second annual year the fall festival took place.
Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development Phil Grabowski hopes the event brought a spirit of celebration to the community for students, faculty, staff and neighbors of all ages to welcome in a new season and contemplate God’s faithfulness.
“The Fall Festival is one way to celebrate God’s seasonal provision as we enjoy apples and pumpkins, homemade food and time together,” Grabowski said. “Also, many people in the community are not familiar with the work of the Environmental Science, Public Health and Sustainability Department. By bringing people to Randall we hope to increase awareness of how the applied sciences of our department are used to further God’s kingdom through stewardship of creation and working towards a more just world.”
Both club and faculty members were encouraged to see students and families enjoying the festivities while also expressing interest in the department.
Senior and Stewards of Creation Club president Ben Morris remembers the fall festival’s humble origins last year, when the idea was first formulated by Dean of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences Grace Miller. Miller wanted to raise awareness for Randall and the department as a whole, and the first festival was a hit, though much smaller than Saturday’s crowds.
Morris believes the annual fall festival helped accomplish this goal. This year’s event included a recycling demonstration to add an environmental education component in addition to the food and fun.
“The heart of Stewards of Creation — and the reason why we’re not the Environmental Club — is because we believe we’re all called to be stewards of God’s creation, as Genesis 2 lays that out very specifically,” Morris said. “We have a responsibility to care for what the Creator gave us, and to make it last for as long as possible and make it beautiful for as long as possible. Things like (the fall festival) are ways we try to teach people that as Christians we should care about this.”
Junior and Stewards of Creation Club vice president Claire Rush was encouraged to see students from a variety of majors as well as several families from the community. During the event, she cut apples for the apple-tasting table and checked scavenger hunt lists, which gave her plenty of opportunities to interact with the attendees.
One particular interaction that stuck out to her was getting to meet a Taylor alumnus from Matthews, Ind. who graduated from Taylor in the 70’s. Coming to the fall festival was her first time being back on campus since then, and seeing her enjoy the festivities brought joy to Rush’s heart.
“The fall festival gave me hope that the Taylor community can be more involved with Upland as a community — that we can form connections between students and families,” Rush said. “It bursts the ‘Taylor bubble’ a little bit. It also gives me hope for the future that other majors will become more interested in sustainability . . . I feel like Randall can be kind of isolated off campus, but to make actual connections and know people valued what we did meant a lot. It made me feel seen.”