This Valentine’s Day, we reflect on a heart-warming alumni love story. In the fall semester of 2012, alum Cheyne Jarnol was studying at OCC's Auburn Hills campus and became involved in the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) student organization.
“[IVCF] helped me feel like I was part of a community on campus,” Cheyne recalls. “I could always find friends I knew through it, hanging out in the student center or studying in the library.”
One of those friends was her future husband, Michael. Her fondest memories include shared involvement in the IVCF organization, as well as lunch dates in G building of the Auburn Hills campus and meeting up outside of F building as he picked her up from class.
Not only did Cheyne find her Valentine at OCC, but she also found a “galentine.” When Cheyne and Michael got married in October 2013, one of Cheyne’s bridesmaids was Charlene Brown, whom she also met through IVCF while attending OCC. To this day, Cheyne calls Charlene a “sister” and “auntie” to her two children.
After finishing up at OCC, both Cheyne and Michael went on to Oakland University to receive their bachelor's degrees in Art Therapy and Marketing, respectively. Michael is now a Staff Sargeant with the Michigan Air National Guard and working in sales with Costco Wholesale. In addition to working part-time at her church, Cheyne has returned to OCC to help revive the student organization that changed her life.
Love for connection returns a decade later
Like many others, Cheyne noticed that colleges were having a difficult time rebuilding engagement on campus post-COVID. “I was so grateful for the true lifelong community I found at OCC and it grieved me to think students may be missing out on some wonderful friendships and experiences now,” she said. So she set to work.
As of Winter Semester 2023, IVCF meets every Thursday on the Auburn Hills campus from 1-2 p.m. in the very same G building where Cheyne first met her husband and best friend. Michael also volunteers occasionally. Weekly meetings usually include shared pizza, games and discussion of a Bible passage. The club now has over a dozen active members and counting.
Over a decade later, Cheyne and Michael often revisit their early memories in the special place that brought them together. Through their work with IVCF, they have opened the door for current and future club members to form lifelong connections and a sense of belonging, as well as – maybe, just maybe – meeting their future spouse.
IVCF is open to people of all backgrounds. Visit intervarsity.org/signupnow to learn more about the national IVCF movement and become connected with someone local like Cheyne Jarnol.
Oakland Community College offers nearly 100 degrees and certificates programs with the resources students need to be successful and advance our community. As a top transfer institution, OCC offers one of the state’s most affordable tuition rates and flexibility in scheduling with face-to-face and online options. The College is nationally recognized for its high-demand career training with expert faculty in their fields. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.
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