Leading the Marion Community

By: Dezaray Barr

Riley Tangeman

Riley Tangeman graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2017 with a degree in social work and a minor in intercultural studies. After seeing how much her older sister enjoyed her experience at IWU and the positive impact it had on her life,  Tangeman felt let to attend IWU. She said her time at IWU was “fun, challenging, freeing and growing.”

While at IWU, Tangeman met a lot of new people who had a large impact on her life. “I made a lot of friends and met many older role models who sharpened me and challenged me to see God in different ways than I ever had,” she said. “My view of God and capacity for faith really expanded throughout my college years. I think the biggest impact IWU had on my life was the social capital and connections it provided me with. Between all of the spiritual, social, and academic opportunities that were available to me, I met people who God used to lead me to where I am today. Every class I took, event I participated in, internship I worked, etc. equipped me and ignited a passion in my heart for the Marion community, and I’m seeing that all come full-circle more and more each day.”

As of recently, Tangeman is the Assistant Development Coordinator at Marion Housing Authority and the Director of Community Relations at The Refinery Business Center on multiple projects that are focused on the revitalization and community development of Marion.

Tangeman and her boss, Steve Sapp, the CEO of Marion Housing Authority

Community development, where Tangeman has found herself, requires patience and faith that the efforts put forward will truly make a difference. “It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of needs that exist here,” Tangeman said. “A daily part of my job is pausing to remind myself that this isn’t my work, but a generous invitation from the Creator to join in the work He’s been doing well before me. When that is my focus, me and God become teammates working together for the community, and I love the limitless feeling that gives me.”

Her favorite day of the week is Monday, for two reasons. One, it’s a fresh start with fresh energy. Second, ‘Monday Punday!’ “I really love puns and cheesy jokes,” Tangeman shared. “I initiated an official Monday Punday Wall in our office, in which it is now tradition that every Monday I post a new pun that my coworkers count on. It makes Monday’s so pun!”

Tangeman would encourage IWU students “to engage in conversations with your professors, people in the community and especially people that are different and/or older than you. The amount of wisdom and knowledge that comes from people themselves is mind-blowing.” She’d also encourage everyone to get out into the Marion community and really take pride in the community beyond campus. “Contrary to popular belief, Marion is not just a poor town that needs our help. It is a beautiful community with a lot to offer anyone with an open mind! Acts of service are nice, but your presence and liveliness will go a lot further! Explore it, love it, value it,” she shared.



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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