‘The Good We Had’ Senior Olivia Huffman Expresses Gratitude for Cal Lutheran Despite Physical Distance

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Jaclyn Holtz, Reporter

Although the California Lutheran University campus emptied out sooner than normal, some students are expressing continued appreciation for the community. Senior Olivia Huffman did just that in her own artistic way, writing a song to pay tribute to the school that had done so much for her.

“I wrote that song in majority as an ode to the school,” Huffman said. “Cal Lu was the first place that, from the moment I walked on campus, it felt like I was supposed to be there and I was meant to be there, and all of that was corroborated by every single person I met.” 

The song titled “The Good We Had,” was inspired by her love for Cal Lutheran and the abrupt halt to her senior year. 

Huffman said she found a home on campus, and it broke her heart when she had to leave.

Huffman said she began writing songs as a child inspired by her older sister who is an accomplished singer and songwriter. Her passion continued to grow from there. 

“I’m so impressed with her ability to be so open and raw about her feelings and experiences while channeling them into a really beautiful artful way,” senior Alicia Asmundson said. 

Huffman did not originally intend on going to Cal Lutheran, transferring the spring of her sophomore year, after attending both Colorado State University and Oregon State University. Her mother is a Cal Lutheran alumna, and the campus stood out to her because it felt like family, and that is what was important, Huffman said.   

“Whether it was professors or students, or anyone involved in the community was so uplifting and so inspiring and just made me feel like I had finally found a place where I wanted to be,” Huffman said. 

Huffman was involved in the People Respecting Individuality, Diversity and Equality Club at Cal Lutheran. She said she personally identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community, and Cal Lutheran was the first place she publicly came out with that identification in such a large setting. 

“It was terrifying but it was also amazing because every single person there was just so heartwarming and beautiful about it,” Huffman said. 

Huffman will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. 

Although she does not intend to pursue a career in the field of religion, she said she thinks that it is an important conversation to be had. She added that she was able to expand on her religious knowledge and understanding of a subject she’d always been interested in after coming from an atheist background.

“It has allowed me to be more open to people, to culture, and to stories,” Huffman said. “It changed how I labeled myself and how I see the world,” Huffman said. “[Professor Julia Lambert Fogg and Professor Peter Carlson] have both been a huge part of my ups and downs at Cal Lu and I can’t ever thank them enough for everything they have done for me.”

Huffman wants to pursue a career working with horses at an animal rescue or a non-profit organization. Huffman said her mom has always been an advocate for animals, and that had a large impact on her upbringing.

When Huffman was growing up, a local stray cat would leave her litter of kittens with her family to care for them. Huffman said after rescuing the kittens she and her mom would ensure that the kittens were adopted out.

“I’ve had the privilege since I was really young to be around that kind of compassionate lifestyle and it always stuck with me,” Huffman said. 

Although Huffman personally had a positive experience at Cal Lutheran, she wants to acknowledge that she believes Cal Lutheran has not offered a positive environment for everyone. Though she will no longer be on campus, Huffman said she will continue to strive for the necessary administrative changes needed to support minorities at Cal Lutheran. 

Huffman said she wants the university to be a place where everyone is able to experience the same loving community that she was privileged to be a part of.