By Hanna House
After traveling the world, how do you decide where to call home? After seeing it all, can you decide on one place to settle down?
Danie Brush, assistant director of residence life, has taken many international trips and has decided to call Winfield, Kansas home.
Brush is a native of Pennsylvania and went to undergraduate school at Waynesburg University which is about two and a half hours from her home. Brush originally chose Waynesburg because of their orange and black colors but also because it was less than three hours from her family home. Brush is a triplet and when her and her sisters started looking at colleges, their mother made it a rule that they could not be more than three hours away.
When describing Waynesburg, Brush explained it being very similar to Southwestern. She said it had old brick buildings and a very Christian atmosphere.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a sociology minor. Staying on a college campus as part of the residence life staff wasn’t necessarily part of her original plan. Once she saw the job opening on a small Christian college campus, she felt she had to apply.
“I found this job posting on an online website that I was looking on for higher education positions,” said Brush. After reading the job description, it sounded exactly like what she would like to do. And then she saw that it was in Kansas.
Brush said she didn’t know anything about Kansas and has no connections here but she decided to apply anyways.
“Danie picked this position because of the type of school Southwestern is. Her background is from a small religious affiliated, private college so the small community and that kind of niche really drew her to Southwestern,” said Sarah Hallinan, director of residence life.
Brush says her favorite part of her job is living on campus and being a part of the community.
“It lets me get to know the students not through my office. I can go to all the student activities, which I do go to a lot of them and I am close so I can go to athletic events and support the students that way,” said Brush.
Even though Brush says she loves living on campus, she would also like to take the time to continue traveling with her first stop being either Italy or Croatia.
During her first year of college, she took a mission trip to Argentina through her school. This was how her traveling career got started being her first international trip. While there, Brush and her group offered a helping hand at a local orphanage.
“We would have the older kids in the morning and the little kids in the afternoon and did a craft project every day and a physical activity like a soccer game. Then we would help clean up the orphanage like paint and general maintenance,” said Brush.
Her second international trip was to South Africa her junior year and was also a mission trip. After South Africa, she traveled to Egypt for a semester abroad. While in Egypt, she took trips to four other countries in her spare time. When she was getting her masters she went to the United Kingdom and then finally a study tour in Europe.
With many trips of experience, Brush advises anyone going on their first international trip to pack light.
“Pack light but be prepared for things you don’t think will happen,” said Brush. “Especially if you are on a mission trip. You don’t need to be thinking about all the stuff you have back in your room.”
When Brush goes on a mission trip like the one to South Africa, she would bring her own towels or extra shoes she knows she will no longer use and donate them to the organization she worked with. Brush said this not only helps the organization, but it also frees up some space for souvenirs or anything you decide to bring back with you.
Mission trips are all about opening our eyes to other ways of living and international trips are not the only way to do that.
“If you aren’t interested in going abroad, then you should do some kind of service trip domestically but in another state or community,” says Brush.
Hanna House is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.