By Tori Hook, Contributing Writer

“Hey, there’s a Dairy Queen opening up tomorrow! We should go stand out for the grand opening! They give out free blizzards for a year!” It was 11:30 p.m. in Glide-Crawford the week before Fall 2015 finals when one of Alexandria George’s hall mates made a typical, late-night suggestion; as usual, everyone went with it. George, a freshman, told me the story of her first finals week escapade between bursts of quickly subdued laughter in an upstairs library study room. With true college student logic, George and the other members of 2nd Crawford, also known as ‘The Kinship,’ decided it was too late to go to bed only to get up again in a few hours (remember those days, upperclassmen?). They resolved to pull an all-nighter. “At 4:00 a.m., we get to Dairy Queen in Nicholasville,” George laughs, her eyes sparkling, “and there is nobody there. And we’re thinking, ‘What if this is fake? What if we just stayed up all night for nothing?’” But George and five of her friends faithfully braved the early morning cold for two hours until the doors opened, celebrating with free blizzards for breakfast.

George is a member of the lacrosse team, Merciful class treasurer, a driven business major and a proud member of ‘The Kinship.’ She may appear to be the poster child for campus community involvement, but she wasn’t always so enthusiastic about Asbury. In fact, George confessed, “I wanted to go anywhere else.” A third generation Asburian, George came from a tradition of proud Asbury graduates: her grandmother with the Conquerors Class of 1965 and her mother with the Messengers Class of 1992. Despite her family’s obvious zeal for Asbury, George even went so far as to say that she was “dead set” on not coming. “I didn’t want to just follow the family,” she explained, “but my mom told me that I had to at least apply and tour.”

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That one tour changed George’s mind about Asbury forever. “The students treated each other in such a loving, respectful, genuine manner that I fell in love with the community here.” At the time, George had been considering other universities, including other small, Christian colleges, but she insisted that there was something authentic and purposeful about Asbury’s community that she just “didn’t find at the other schools.” So in August 2015, George stepped onto campus as a member of the Merciful class, ready to embrace the community she’d fallen in love with on that very first tour.

One of the first community-building experiences George had as an Asburian was on the Archways trip preceding orientation week. It’s hard not to get close when you spend a week together roughing it in the woods, but George said the real team builder was serving as a leader. George explained that every day, there were two leaders of the day. “They navigate through the woods, choose your campsite, choose where you stop and have a devotion time, when you rest, when you’re hiking at a faster pace, when to slow down – all of that,” she said. George was leader of the day with freshman Seth Padgett, who is “very much a delegator,” laughed George. “But so am I, so I think we were able to lead the team well and really come together. Through all of that teamwork we really grew close.” George described Padgett as one of her best friends, and gladly told me that much of the Archways team has remained close-knit.

Though George knows it’s not always easy to get involved, she encourages other Asbury students to “take a step out there. Grab a friend. Do it together. There’s so much value in Asbury’s community that you can’t get in other places. We only have four years here. Why not get involved? Why not do something valuable with that time and form relationships that are going to last forever?”

On Jan. 28, George and 11 other members of the Kinship piled into cars and drove to the Nicholasville Dairy Queen. Those who had bravely pulled an all-nighter last semester treated those who hadn’t to a free blizzard, complete with lots of laughs and memories formed. “That community,” George smiled, her eyes lighting up, “you just can’t find it anywhere else.”