Elizabethton native Colin Blowers is one of many students on the Milligan College campus who are making a positive impact on their world.
Blowers, a 2009 graduate of Elizabethton High School, was a student-athlete and a member of the Carter County Youth Leadership Program during his time in the city school system. When it came time to select a college, he was initially drawn to the idea of going to a large university. “When it came to considering a college, I initially wanted to go to a big, prestigious school. Through a long process, I realized that I valued Milligan and the campus community. Looking back on it, I think I made the best choice I could make by selecting Milligan to continue my education,” said Blowers.
Blowers noted that the experience of going to Milligan has been a “transformative experience. I’m definitely a different person than I would have been if I had chosen to go to a state school or large university.”
Last summer, Blowers was able to go to the Middle East as part of a student summer program with 28 other American students. During the trip, he studied on the West Bank of Israel, which is south of Jerusalem. Blowers said the experience of going to Israel was one of the greatest experiences of his life.
The summer program in Israel taught Middle East politics, Arabic, Islam and other cultures and peoples of the region. Since Blowers has a strong interest in government and politics, he said this program provided him with a new understanding of the varying cultures in the Middle East and the ongoing conflict between the people of Israel and the Muslim countries surrounding the nation.
In addition to his two months in the West Bank, the students were also able to travel to Jordan and Turkey. Blowers said the students were initially going to travel to Egypt as part of the program. About a month before they left the United States, however, the Egypt trip was canceled due to the political conflict that forced Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak out of power.
Blowers said the opportunity to live in the Middle East provided him with the opportunity to see the world in a different light. “If I could generalize the experience, living in another culture and to experience the issues in another part of the world was an incredibly powerful experience. You see how the preconceived notions you have about the world, faith and identity are very different than what you expect,” said Blowers.
Blowers recalled one of the most memorable aspects of the trip was the “level of uncertainty in regards to safety.” He said the ongoing tension between Jews and Muslims means “safety is never guaranteed. To be in a place where you can never be absolutely sure is 100 percent safe was an eye-opening experience.”
Blowers did note, however, the student program did take steps to keep them in areas where the threat of violence. “They did a very good job of setting boundaries for us.”
Now that he has returned to the United States, Blowers has had an opportunity to reflect upon his time in the Middle East. He commented that the summer program gave him the chance to see the problems the people of the Middle East face on a daily basis. “They’re human beings just like us. They’re just trying to get by day-to-day. It also helped me see who I am in a new way. As Americans, we are very blessed,” Blowers added.
While Blowers said he is proud to be from the United States, he believes Christians in this country have a duty to respond to the needs of people in need around the world. “We should place our identity as Christians and our responsibility to help others ahead of our identity as Americans.”
Blowers is also active in Milligan’s theater and drama programs. Since he started at the school, he said he has gained an interest in acting. Even though he had no previous experience on the stage from high school, he recalled that he decided his freshman year to audition for a production. He has been involved in the theater program ever since.
Last year, Blowers played the role of Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. This spring, he is performing in the production of Alice in Wonderland. The production is scheduled to run from Feb. 9 through Feb. 12.
Blowers speaks very highly of the theater and performing arts program at Milligan. He commented that “the school’s performing arts program is amazing. It has given me a chance to do something new. If I had gone to a large school, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to act in any plays.”
Blowers is the son of Paul Blowers. His father is a professor at the Emmanuel School of Religion in Carter County. He has a sister and two brothers.
Blowers is a humanities major at Milligan College. He will also have a double minor in political science and philosophy. He said he is interested in pursuing a career with some type of government or a service agency once he graduates. With his interest in politics and international relations, Blowers said he would be interested in working for the State Department.
MILLIGAN COLLEGE is a Christian liberal arts college in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The college offers 30 undergraduate majors and four master’s degrees. To learn more about Milligan College, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-447-5922.