Step by step
Bethel University professor embraces simplicity by using his own two feet to arrive at work.
By McKenzie Van Loh | Royal Report
Sam Mulberry jolts awake to his alarm. At 4 a.m., the sun still sleeps, but Mulberry begins his day. He spends time with his wife, Anne, while he makes lunches for his kids, Bengt and Esme. After saying goodbye to his family, he laces up his dark brown shoes and steps out the door 6:50 am. Mulberry sets off to work at Bethel University. He bypasses his garage and walks straight into Bethel’s campus, arriving at 7 a.m.
The Mulberry family used to practically live on Hamline University’s campus before it moved to Arden Hills in 2011. Since then, Mulberry has walked to work from his house in Arden Hills every day.
“Part of moving where we did is we wanted to make it easy to have students over,” Mulberry said.
As a result of teaching a general education course, he teaches mostly freshmen. Most lack cars.
“I used to stress about arranging carpools and now I just have to say, ‘It’s right over there.’ ”
The Mulberrys’ proximity to campus has aided to the convenience of hosting.
“They’re incredibly hospitable people,” said junior Jordyn Cerar, who works as a CWC TA, working alongside Mulberry on a daily basis. “They absolutely love having students over. I know they host dinners for history department students and they also have three sometimes four events at their house a year for CWC TAs.”
“The fact that they could have two cars but they choose to have one is just one example of the sacrifice that they put in to make time and have resources for the things that really matter.” –Katie Sibbet, junior CWC TA
Mulberry’s family owns one car. Sometimes, he can spend up to a week without driving. The car functions as a way to get their kids to school at Valentine Hills Elementary, get his wife to work as a substitute teacher or drive to church on Sunday.
“The fact that they could have two cars but they choose to have one is just one example of the sacrifice that they put in to make time and have resources for the things that really matter,” junior CWC TA Katie Sibbet said. “Sam and Anne are both very concerned with community and with developing young people so they have TAs over for dinner and for parties. Anne brings the kids to Bethel quite frequently to see their dad and just hang out.”
Mulberry follows in the footsteps of his father, who walked to work as well. In the town Mulberry grew up in, it would take 45 minutes to stroll from one side to the other. Walking as a means of transportation remains the norm. Now, living in Arden Hills, Mulberry also finds that his world becomes small fairly quickly.
“My grocery store is Bethel’s grocery store. I go to Cub or Target, and when the weather’s nice, I’ll sometimes just walk those, too, just because I’m in these buildings so much,” Mulberry said. “I look for opportunities if I can walk somewhere. … It’s a great way to clear my head.”
Mulberry will often listen to audiobooks while walking to and from work. The most recent book being Infinite Jest. A self-proclaimed introvert, he walks in solitude to smooth out the edges of the day.
“I would say living simply for (the Mulberrys) has brought a lot of benefits and a lot of blessings that maybe other people haven’t experienced,” Sibbet said. “It seems to work really well for them.”
More about Mulberry:
Profession: CWC Professor at Bethel University
Started Working at Bethel: 2001
Specialty: Media Production for CWC and AESC
Current Project: Producing Online workshops for students