The Words of the Roomet Family
Victoria Roomet is the Vice President of CARP USA
Question: Let's start from the beginning. What is the vision and goal of CARP?
CARP's vision and goal is to support Unificationists and their friends while they are in college. We have three areas of focus: nurturing a spiritual life (or internal excellence), academic excellence (or external excellence) and creating a generation of peace. It's CARP's job to give our support. When college students are being supported, they are more likely to succeed. Our goal is to build an organization that provides something of value that will enhance any college student's overall college experience, whether they are an Unificationist or not.
Question: How have the events CARP has offered, liked the annual gala, helped usher CARP's vision forward?
The galas are a way for our Senior Pastor, Reverend In Jin Moon, and True Parents to give back to our community. Our Senior Pastor has so much love and support that she can and wants to give to the young adults in our community, so we are able to use the galas as a way to facilitate that love and support. The galas are a way of giving Unificationist college students an opportunity to tap into their Unificationist resources and take advantage of the spiritual and practical guidance available. They are also a way for us to celebrate all the achievements and amazing things that young adults in our community are doing and have a lot of fun together as brothers and sisters.
Question: CARP announced an alternative program for spring break at the last gala, correct?
Yes, we did our first alternative spring break in March of this year. We partnered with United Initiatives for Peace and Surf for Life. We helped renovate a playing field at an elementary school in Costa Rica, built a second basketball court for the town. We got to know a lot of great people and go surfing as well. Alternative spring breaks are becoming popular for college students to do and they are great leadership-building opportunities. The alternative spring break we had this year served as an opportunity to see young adults creating a Generation of Peace in action.
Question: What else has CARP been doing?
We started sending out care packages in the fall of 2010.
Question: Just for fun, what do these care packages consist of?
Homemade cookies, granola; we include tips from the book The Secrets of College Success by Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman. It has all these nifty tips like, "Why it's never good to procrastinate," and, comp requirement." It also has a hand-written note and an issue of Unification News. People love the care packages! I remember when I was in college, if I ever got a pink slip in my mail box, which meant that I had a package to pick up at the window, I would be so excited. Twice my mom sent me a care package and it was the greatest feeling in the world. Sometimes, college can be really lonely. So, if you know someone who could use a care package, let us know. We'll send them one.
Question: Anything else CARP has been involved in?
This semester we are officially launching a national 4.0 club. This club was initially founded by some STF graduates who were inspired by Reverend In Jin Moon's vision for internal and external excellence. They decided they were going to work towards a 4.0 for their first semester in college, and they did it. So, we put our heads together and thought this would be a great initiative to share with the rest of the country. Basically, we decided that if you are a college student and are able to reach a 4.0 during this fall 2011 semester at school, you will get a free ticket to the upcoming Winter Ball.
We are going to do personal phone calls, starting with this past year's GPA graduates, tracking them through college, seeing how they're doing, seeing what they need. Then maybe we'll notice some trends that will help us learn how we can support college students to become successful people.
I don't know if you noticed him swimming around yet, but CARP also recently hired a new mascot -- Mr. the Fish. He has been doing a great job so far. He debuted at the Blessed Culture and Sports Festival this summer, rooting for all the different sports teams. He's also starred in Sonic Cult's music video for "You Own the Game" and has now become a weekly feature in the Lovin' Life Announcements. Mr. the Fish is going through the throes of college along with students around the country and sharing his experiences as well as lessons learned. We are hoping that college students will feel some extra support through Mr. the Fish and are excited to see how his role in CARP develops.
Also, this year's Winter Ball is going to be amazing. It is going to serve as a healthy New Year's Eve Party. Since God's Day has been moved to coincide with the heavenly calendar, New Year's Eve (which traditionally has been reserved for God's Day activities) has become an open holiday. Most young adults in mainstream culture party on New Year's Eve, so we will too -- in a wonderfully healthy way. We are also planning on coordinating cultural events around the gala, similar to BCSF this summer. It is going to be lots of fun. Save the dates: December 28th, 2011 -- January 1, 2012!!!
Question: CARP seems to be doing well in terms of meeting their goals and unlike in the past, the idea of a "CARP member" doesn't really exist. Simply, if you are an Unificationist college student, CARP will help you. Why is it is encouraged to establish CARP on campus?
If people want to start a club, that becomes a resource for them. If they want to just focus on their studies, get a 4.0 and just be an awesome student, that's amazing. They should do that; however, if you want to and you can, why not start a CARP club on your campus and get money from your school and do what you want to do? It's really a no-brainer. If you want money to do something free, get your school to pay for it.
Question: Since CARP's last interview with Unification News in September, 2009, would you say CARP is where you and Hero want it to be right now or not?
I think it's starting to get there. Most of the country still has no idea what CARP is all about and obviously that is our fault for not putting CARP out there enough. People have this vague idea of what it is, what it transformed into back in 2009, but they either haven't been paying attention to what's been going on or they simply haven't seen it affect them in any way on campus. And that's our job. We need to communicate more effectively and build something valuable that affects people in a positive way while they are in college. CARP should have personal relationships with college students. The more people feel loved and supported, the more they will feel like they can give and start taking initiative.
Question: Would you like students to start their own initiative?
Yes. That's the idea, to encourage their own initiative because that's when things happen -- when it's their project. We already see a lot of college students taking initiative and starting new clubs or organizing fun events, and I anticipate we are going to continue to see that more and more. I am really excited about this incoming freshmen class, especially those who just completed GPA and are now starting college. We were able to develop relationships with last year's GPA participants while they were in NY and we are going to call them up and periodically check in with them to see how they are doing, what issues they are facing, and to see how CARP can better support them. So over the next four years with this year's graduating GPA class, CARP is totally going to evolve and grow.
Question: And what is it that you want CARP to evolve and grow into?
We want CARP to grow into an organization that produces successful people in all areas of life. Our vision or goal is to support Unificationist college students (and their friends) and one way we can do that is to show them they are loved and connected to something. We want them to know they are not the only ones out there in the middle of nowhere, at college. So everything we are doing is, in part, trial and error, trying to build up this organization so that it reflects the goals Reverend In Jin Moon has been expressing. We still need to figure out how effective we are in the things we do. What I anticipate happening is that when people feel CARP is a valuable organization, they will want to be a part of it. Natural feelings of wanting to help and support will develop on their own; the leaders will naturally emerge. It's kind of an awkward, transitional period that we are in because organic growth is a different way of doing things so, for now, we are working on being a resource. If we make ourselves a valuable organization, then the results will come.