By Alex Nemec, marketing communications specialist
The beginning of a new semester is an exciting time — but it can also be an anxious and stressful experience for some.
In addition to the many resident assistants, each residence hall has a hall minister to provide pastoral care to and be a spiritual presence for all residents and building staff.
In collaboration with the staff, hall ministers are charged with helping to form a residential community that expresses the university’s Catholic, Jesuit mission, while accompanying individuals dealing with stress, illness, loss, loneliness, relationships, spiritual and emotional health, and more.
In this Q&A, Ethan Vander Leek, hall minister for Abbottsford Hall, talks about what he likes the most about Marquette University and Milwaukee.
What was your undergraduate degree in? Why did you pursue that discipline?
As an undergrad I attended the King’s University, a small Christian school in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I majored in English because it was a great interdisciplinary discipline. When you study literature, you also dip into history, psychology, philosophy and theology.
Why did you want to be a hall minister?
The residence hall experience is an important part of university life, where big questions about the world are asked while also forming deep friendships and communities. I wanted to be a hall minister because it’s a great privilege to offer opportunities for strengthening the spiritual foundation that comes to us from the Christian faith. I’m excited to develop relationships with students and bring practices of prayer and spiritual reflection into Abbotsford Hall.
What makes Marquette special to you?
Marquette is special for many reasons first and foremost because of the excellent professors and friends I have found in the Theology Department and in Campus Ministry. Second, the campus itself is rich in historic and beautiful buildings. I love how embedded Marquette is in Milwaukee, both historically and physically.
What is your favorite Marquette memory?
I have loved praying evening prayer at St. Joan of Arc Chapel with Canterbury Fellowship, the Episcopal campus ministry at Marquette. Canterbury Fellowship gathers in the chapel at least once a week, often more. It is not one specific memory, but more a memory of a feeling — the feeling of sacredness and holiness at the heart of the Marquette campus.
What is one thing you’re looking forward to this academic year?
I’m really looking forward to deepening relationships with a variety of different people from different parts of Marquette. Living right on campus in Abbottsford Hall will provide new opportunities for those deep connections. It’s exciting to be so close to all the events that happen and communities that form on campus.
Favorite book: “A Wizard of Earthsea,” by Ursula K. Le Guin
Favorite location on campus: Aside from the Chapel of the Holy Family, I love the quiet corners and stacks of Memorial Library
Favorite hobby: Playing guitar
Favorite restaurant in Milwaukee: Café Benelux in the Third Ward
Favorite dessert: Peanut butter cookie dough ice cream