I developed a servant’s heart at Wartburg 

NAME: Jamie Harrings
CLASS YEAR: 2016
MAJOR: Music education
CURRENTLY: Activities director and band director, Waterloo Community Schools

WHY WARTBURG: ‘Why did you choose Wartburg’ is such a hard question for me to answer because the list goes on and on as to why. It could be when I went to the Wartburg Honor Band as a sophomore in high school and felt something ‘special’ about the place as soon as I stepped into the band hall. As I walked around campus on a tour as a junior in high school, I could see myself studying in the library, hanging out at the Den, and going to classes in the FAC. In short, Wartburg was home for me, before I was ever actually enrolled.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: My favorite Wartburg Tradition was participating in Wartburg West. Student teaching in Denver, Colorado, fostered my love of diverse settings, both as a place to live and teach. As a teacher it developed my skills and confidence in the classroom and gave me a perspective I never could have gotten in Iowa. As an individual, I was able to develop my own identity and push myself outside of my comfort zone all while enjoying the beauty that Denver and the surrounding area had to offer.

Jamie Harrings

WHAT WAS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never imagined that I was going to see so much of our country and even the world before going to Wartburg College. Once I started to get involved in service trips I was amazed at the opportunities that came up. I was able to combine two of my greatest passions: serving others and learning about other communities and cultures. As a freshman I traveled through Eastern Europe following in the footsteps of Martin Luther and Saint Elizabeth and had my first opportunity to travel within the USA and serve a different community. As I continued my Wartburg journey it turned into me participating and leading service trips to a total of nine different communities across our country. I learned, embraced, and was changed by what I witnessed in these communities. While my short weeks in these communities did not have life long change on those communities, I, and the others I served with, had a life long impact of developing a servant’s heart. 

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: My Wartburg experiences prepared me to think about the place in which I could best use my talents and gifts to better serve the community in which I live. At Wartburg I immersed myself in service opportunities from participating and leading service trips, to being a Dance Marathon Morale Captain, and volunteering at various nonprofits over my four years, Wartburg developed me into a greater servant leader. In addition to the student orgs developing me into the person I am, the mentors and staff I learned from in the education department taught me how to make myself a reflective educator who strives to do what is best for the students I have the opportunity to teach and coach.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE: As a member of the Alumni Board I am lucky to get to serve the college that gave me so much. I love being a member of the alumni board and coming back to campus twice a year for Homecoming and RICE Day to connect with my classmates and other alumni. Through this role I get the opportunity to meet alumni I never would have otherwise, help where I can with various on-campus events, and build a community with other alumni who want to give back to the college.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: The most resonate part of the Wartburg mission statement for me is ‘nurturing students for lives of leadership and service’. Through the impact of that statement, I have gone on to earn a Masters in Education Administration and currently serve as the AD for my middle school while still teaching band. I take immense pride in my school and the students and coaches that I get to serve day in and day out.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Try anything and everything that piques your interest. I was involved in so many student orgs I have lost count now, but each one developed me into the person I was. 

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: My experience was made worth it because of the faculty and staff at Wartburg. From my RE 101 professor rocking my world and making me want to take on a religion minor to (the late) Dr. Survilla encouraging me to take ownership of my education and encouraging me to think deeper.