Connecting faith, learning and service

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Waynesburg University stands on the core values of faith, service and learning. Each day, students are taught how to integrate these passions into their lives and become committed to higher purposes. For senior communication major Greg Reinhart, his understanding and application of the three core values developed during his travels to Arizona and California.

The North Royalton, Ohio, native traveled three times to the West Coast as a Waynesburg University student seeking to further two of his passions—service and learning. At the end of his freshman year, he joined the Tuba City, Ariz., mission trip to assist with a local school in a Navajo community.

“Arizona holds a very special place in my heart,” Greg said. “Having the chance to reach across the nation and help with the Navajo reservation changed my perspective on service. I learned that service changes you as a person.”

The journey to fulfill his service goals continued with the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities' (CCCU) Los Angeles Film Study Program, where Greg spent the fall semester of his junior year. His experiences in this program, offered through CCCU's Best Semester, taught him about the passion and drive needed to succeed in the film making industry.

“What I took away from the program is that you have to believe in yourself before others start to believe in you,” Greg said. “This starts with preparation, dedication and enthusiasm in my own ability to make a difference in a professional field.”

Greg's time in Los Angeles and at Waynesburg University created a balanced education and a diverse learning experience. Between classes and hands-on experiences, he received the close and personal attention that has enabled him to grow in his field. In Los Angeles, he developed contacts with students and professionals from across the nation and put his education to practice.

Following in the footsteps of communication students that came before him, Greg knew he wanted to complete a documentary. Before taking on such a large project, he knew it had to become much more than fulfilling an academic dream.

With this in mind, he decided to return to Tuba City and highlight an area unknown to many.

“I wanted people who did not go on the trip to know and understand the Navajo community that existed in northeastern Arizona,” Greg said. “More importantly, I wanted to convey that you don't have to travel outside of the country to make a difference.”

Since establishing a partnership with the Tuba City Boarding School in 2007, Kelley Hardie, assistant dean of Student Services, has led the trip for six years with Frank Pazzynski, associate professor of education.

Hardie believes Greg to be a personification of the mission of Waynesburg University.

“Greg is an excellent example of a servant leader,” Hardie said. “He pours his heart into all that he does and utilizes his blessings to their fullest potential. He has the amazing ability to link his faith with his major while serving others.”

At times, Greg was challenged by the project because its success was dependent on his self-motivation and development. Successfully combining both, he was able to complete a successful project and give the voiceless a chance to speak and be heard.

“The mission trip documentary was my biggest lesson in learning how to integrate faith, service and learning in my area of study and through my own effort,” Greg said. “Being a communication major, we are taught to centralize and focus a message for a prospective audience, and my faith taught me how to connect my studies.”

Despite the challenges, Greg's hard work resulted in an exceptional documentary, which was shown in the University's Goodwin Performing Arts Center during the spring semester.

“It was right on and accurate,” Pazzynski said. “It was artistic and informative while accurately capturing the essence of the mission trip.”

Throughout his travels, Greg learned that God is faithful on his journey, wherever it takes him. Whether he is at home or jet setting across the country, God is there guiding him. Knowing that God is using him to fulfill a need, he applies Ruth 1:16 to his life: “But Ruth replied, ‘Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.'"

It's this mentality that drives Greg to continue serving and trusting God.

Waynesburg University has given me a chance to stretch my learning to an extreme by allowing me to participate on campus, in Arizona and Los Angeles,” Greg said. “There are many miles between those three areas, and I've traveled them within a couple of years. Yet, every single mile was worth the lessons and experiences I've gained because of the leader God requires me to be.”