When visiting professor Kristine Whitnable met with the head of Goce Delčev University of Štip in Macedonia recently, she explained how she had made a connection with Blackhawk Technical College’s InterVarsity’s Christian Fellowship group for a book drive that would help begin stocking the school’s burgeoning library.
“Perhaps we can name the wing for you,’’ the school’s rector told Whitnable in gratitude.
“I was tempted to say better that we name it for Blackhawk Technical College,’’ she recalled.
Whitnable returned to Blackhawk last week for a personal visit with the InterVarsity group to thank it for its support of the 8-year-old school in the Balkans country that is bordered by Albania and Bulgaria on the east and west, Kosovo and Serbia to the north, and Greece to the south.
InterVarsity spent the fall semester on a book drive that raised a variety of books for the school known as UGD, books that ranged from textbooks used in BTC classes to a wide array of literature. The drive accumulated 40 boxes of books.
Kent Marsden, the BTC basic skills instructor who serves as the group’s faculty adviser, had met Whitnable through their shared connection with the Fulton Church in Edgerton. Marsden attends the church, which supports Whitnable’s missionary duties at UGD, where she is a visiting professor in the school’s undergraduate law program.
Marsden, who had been connected with missionary book drives in the past, saw this as a natural opportunity for the InterVarsity group to practice its mission of Christian activism. It also was a way to build a library foundation for the young school, which has a three-story library but few books.
“By collecting books and shipping them to a poor country whose culture is different than our culture in Wisconsin, students can see how they can impact a campus across the globe and make interpersonal connections with a visiting professor from that country and possibly other faculty members and students there as well,’’ Marsden explained.
Whitnable has a personal connection to the BTC district. She was a graduate of Janesville Craig High School and her father, Bernie, was an aviation instructor in the former BTC program.
“I was so excited for Kent to pick up the ball here,’’ she said.
Whitnable and Marsden currently are working on ways to defray shipping costs for the books. One estimate received was $1,800. They are confident they can bring that down to a more manageable figure.