College is a time when many students move away from home, grow as individuals, learn independence, find new friends and build networks. COVID-19 has limited many of those opportunities. Forrest Roudebush (pictured second from left with his mother, father and 5 of his siblings), is our outstanding 2019-2020 Southtown Council intern and student at Rockhurst University. He is like many college students who never imagined online courses, working from home, and living at home during his junior year of college. Enjoy his reflections on serving at Southtown this year, how he's coping with all the changes , and how he is optimistic about changes he and others at Rockhurst University can make this year in spite of COVID-19. Here is his story.
My name is Forrest Roudebush and I served as an intern for Southtown Council and Foundation during the 2019-2020 school year. Currently, I am a rising senior at Rockhurst University majoring in Economics and Public Policy. I have lived in Kansas City my entire life so serving with Southtown has been an amazing experience that I will never forget. Between the Morning Grinds, hanging up posters, and CPAC meetings, I have enjoyed getting to know the passionate and enthusiastic members of our community.
For many, quarantine has been a large adjustment. I moved back home to live with my family in South Kansas City. This has been a growing experience, my six siblings, with three returning home. We have enjoyed playing basketball on the trampoline, playing board games, watching movies, and our new favorite, backyard badminton.
Quarantine has provided many unique opportunities. I had the opportunity to run and was elected Student Senate President at Rockhurst amid COVID-19. Even though we were not able to engage students in person, Rockhurst held virtual town halls via Zoom. My running mate, Maggie Gerards, and I communicated with students on social media to further this engagement. We are excited about the many opportunities and challenges that are presented to us during this time. Even with the conflicts of COVID-19, Rockhurst finalized the joining of St. Luke’s College of Health Science on May 1st. We were able to hold a virtual welcome for all of our new companions.
Like many, the thing I have missed the most during quarantine is our community. I miss being able to work with Sean and Erin, holding chapter with my fraternity, and preparing for Senate meetings. However, I have been proud of my peers in their ability to adapt. My friends and I have been able to have group FaceTime and Zoom sessions. I have also admired the organizations on campus that have adapted. Student Senate has held weekly Zoom sessions and my fraternity has been able to hold biweekly meetings. I think this especially speaks to the commitment that we have to our community.
As our lives return to a sense of normalness, I have many things to look forward too. First, I am excited to be in the community again. Even if we are ordering online, there is something special that is brought out through the people of Southtown. Additionally, I am excited to build on my time in Southtown through my internship at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. I am thrilled to be able to continue my service to the community that has given me so much.
I want to thank you all for your courage and leadership during these challenging times. Though, as always, I expect that we will all come out stronger. Thank you for teaching me so much during the last year and I hope to see you all very soon!
[Outstanding Southtown Council Intern]
(pictured above in orange leading a group of Rockhurst Students with Southtown Executive Director Sean Ackerson during a recent Rockhurst University Finucane Service Project)
Special thanks to Forrest for all his hard work and serving as our intern this year while attending school full time and working. He's brought a much appreciate energy to his work, willingness to serve and learn, and determination to see projects through. We wish Forrest the best as a senior at Rockhurst University and look forward to all he accomplishes in the future. If anyone is interested in working with Forrest, please drop us a note. We're happy to share our reference.