A recent arrival on Corban’s campus was a 15-passenger van, a donation from First Baptist Church of Salem.
Jeff Benjamin, assistant director of student support, said, “I was looking, over the course of a year, for a set of wheels for student services. Our international students who arrived on campus without transportation, in particular, are so reliant on public transportation for basic things such as shopping or traveling to a doctor’s appointment or to the bank.”
Since bus transportation in front of Corban has been discontinued, the nearest bus stop is about a mile from campus. Benjamin mentioned the inconvenience of this when students might walk in poor weather conditions or return to campus carrying packages from a shopping trip. He also expressed his desire to help international students feel more independent in what is a foreign culture to them.
“I think, sometimes, they felt a little awkward about asking others for a ride,” said Benjamin. “That’s something I’ll be sure to stress with our international students this year as something that is appropriate to do. But this van will provide one more form of transportation, such as to and from the bus stop.”
Benjamin continued, “True North Corp, the student missions organization on campus, can also use it for retreats and outreaches, and health services as well, such as when the nurse needs to get a student in for x-rays or something like that. Athletics may also use the van periodically to transport athletes to local fields.”
The 15-seat, 1990 Dodge will be reduced to 12 seats, said Director of Campus Care Tom Samek, to comply with insurance-policy regulations. Drivers of the van will be pre-approved drivers of the University.
Benjamin especially wanted to thank First Baptist Church: “first of all, because the van has value to it; and secondly, because they recognized our need and stepped up to meet it.”
This is the second van First Baptist Church has donated to Corban. The first was a 1993 Dodge, donated in 2006; it has primarily served the Athletics Department.