Student Leadership at The Seattle School is facilitated by four individuals—three students and one spouse or partner of a student—who lead four distinct realms: Anamchara, Sacred Space, Student Council, and Mosaic. Emily McBroom is the 2015-2016 facilitator of Anamchara, which also includes Page DeVere, Gretchen Krumwiede, Kenzi Roberson, Erin Schmoll, and Alisa Westover. Emily is a third-year Master of Divinity student, and she joined Anamchara in January of 2014. This is her first year as facilitator.
First things first: What does Anamchara mean?
It’s from Celtic spirituality—a Gaelic word for “soul friend.”
And as a realm of Student Leadership, what does Anamchara do?
We provide opportunities for students to create community, both inside and outside the school. We’re kind of the hospitality realm, so we do a lot of food events. We also try to play a lot—like sporting events. That’s been important to me, to be able to move my body and stop thinking for an evening.
Why is that—fostering a sense of community and hospitality—so important?
I think there’s something really important about community and connection, and just enjoying the people you go to school with. It was important to me personally, after moving here and not having a community.
It’s a big step, though, to go from enjoying and participating in community to actually helping facilitate it. What made you want to get involved?
I joined Anamchara because I’ve always loved creating events and planning events. Then I became the facilitator because I really love leadership and wanted to see the dreams of my team and help actualize them.
On a personal note, when you’re not at school or work, how do you spend your down time?
I watch a lot of TV—I love Inside Amy Schumer, Shameless, Will & Grace—and I make a lot of food. I like to go bouldering, too.
Any plans for this year that you and your team are gearing up for?
We have a flag football game planned for early October, and we’re planning a fall event with Sacred Space. Then we’ll probably do a soccer game in the spring and frisbee in the summer.
What would you say to someone who thinks events like that sound great but feels way too overwhelmed?
This can help you not be overwhelmed. These events and meals are times when you get to stop and not think about class, and you get to connect and just be with people. I think we all have a desire for community, and a lot of times we don’t know how to go about it. Food and play—words we use a lot in Anamchara—are essential things everyone needs and wants. You put those together and create community around you.
What are you most proud of from your time in Anamchara?
I think last year’s neighborhood dinners. We had about 125 people sign up, and trying to filter 125 people into neighborhoods isn’t easy. But we took a day and did it. That event has been—it’s like, Oh yeah, that’s why we do this.
Anything you’d want to say to folks who are coming to classes but haven’t felt that sense of connection yet?
First, I’m sorry. Then, it’s about showing up. We’re doing events—if you want to feel connected, you just have to show up. You can always email me to learn more (firstname.lastname@example.org), and if you have ideas for other things, great—let’s do them.
What makes this community different from others that you’ve known?
The community here is so unique and distinct. I don’t know if I have words for it. It’s almost like a unicorn—this magical place that’s so crazy and weird. But a unicorn is also just a horse with a giant weapon on its head—not only is it beautiful, it’s also terrifying. I think that’s what’s different. There’s a willingness to engage the hard places, whether relationally or educationally, which is both beautiful and terrifying.