When Tim Scurlock (jr) took over as Indiana Wesleyan University’s student body president, he brought new ideas with him. Ideas he believes will equip IWU students to engage the world beyond campus.
Scurlock, who ran unopposed and won the nomination this past year, said he’s looking forward to representing students and continuing to look into policy changes. A big part of his vision, however, is to see how his student government administration can help students on campus as Christians love those outside the church while still engaging them and the broader culture.
“We have to learn how to disagree as Christians … and still honor [others],” he said.
Scurlock wants to establish forums to help unite people who have different beliefs, saying it’s important for students to have exposure to the diverse ideas they will one day encounter.
At IWU’s fall academic convocation Scurlock gave a speech challenging the university to engage secular culture.
“We deny our part in culture and as a result, we miss the opportunity to enter into important conversations in a timely way,” Scurlock said in the speech. “[The apostle] Paul was one of the most effective evangelists in history, and he intentionally used the culture he found himself in to assist his cause.”
Part of the reason Scurlock said he’s interested in pursuing this line of thought is that he once wasn’t someone who sought to build bridges. He said he didn’t appreciate that when he was younger.
Chandler Landis (sr) used to live in the same dorm as Scurlock, and said he has watched Scurlock progress over time. “Seeing him now and seeing him back then — it’s just the maturity level,” he said. “You can tell he’s grown, … just in how he acts. I think [being in] SGA probably helped with that.”
When Scurlock first looked at schools, he visited IWU and said he was sold on its mission, although he was skeptical at first. He only planned on staying a semester and then transferring to what looked like a “better school.”
After being at IWU that semester, what he saw impacted him. Scurlock said he saw how dedicated teachers were to their students and noticed that “IWU does a great job of … reconciling faith and academics.”
Dr. Lisa Toland, John Wesley Honors College history associate director, said she has only known Scurlock the past eight months but sees maturity in him.
“The faculty increasingly gains respect for Tim as they interact with his form of quiet, but bold, leadership,” Toland wrote in an email to The Sojourn. “As a faculty member, I know I’m one of many who is excited to watch and be a part of SGA’s vision to help better prepare our students for a life of service in whatever context.”
Scurlock said the idea of asking tough questions about the culture grew on him for a while, but his experience studying at Oxford University this summer convinced him this was something he needed to pursue as SGA’s new president. He had a number of conversations there with different people “on the big issues of our culture.”
“I realized that as a student here, I have to bring these conversations back to campus,” he said.
While Scurlock said he’s still grappling with various questions, he has “a very solid foundation that’s unwavering.”
“My foundation is in Christ,” he said, “His crucifixion, ascension and resurrection.”