Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a momentous first: there is an issue that the majority of the student body has stronger opinions on than I. Luckily, I am quick to jump on the bandwagon of having opinions, and in the past ten minutes I’ve developed quite a few.
The issue I speak of is the changing of chapel/convocation from Monday and Friday to solely Wednesday, a change that many people are resisting. Even before ten minutes ago, when I developed my strong opinions, I was among those who weren’t thrilled with the change.
Having convo on Mondays and Fridays made a nice little sandwich out of my week; I could start and end a torturous five days of classes in solidarity with my classmates. Spending 40 minutes together in the middle of the week just doesn’t have the same unifying effect for me. I also find myself feeling worse about sleeping through church every Sunday when I’m only going to chapel every other week.
Jokes aside (although that sandwich is a legitimate thought that I regularly have), many people have complained of struggling to get in enough convo credits when they’re only offered once a week.
While I don’t personally face that issue, I think my plethora of convo credits can be tied to my place in the majority culture on campus. While it’s true that there are bonus credits available for various concerts and theatre performances, these credits seem to favor those who are already inclined to attend such events. Goshen College would love to imagine that all of its students are so well rounded and that the various arts departments feel inclusive and welcoming to all students, but this just isn’t always the case. I think there’s a significant number of students who don’t feel comfortable walking into the music building, much less sitting through a performance of songs that are unfamiliar to them in an audience of a demographic starkly different from their own.
And apparently we credit for being in the concerts? Thank goodness my parents forced me to begin band in the sixth grade, otherwise I’d be short a credit and have to wake up an hour early on Wednesday.
Not to mention the glaringly obvious omission in the bonus convo credits: sporting events. I love the extra incentive for my peers to come to orchestra concerts (this Friday!), but I’m sure many athletes would appreciate it if that same incentive were offered to draw larger crowds for their games. I can’t speak for any athletes, of course, seeing as my only involvement in the world of sports is sitting in the very back corner of Religion and Sports (and, even then, I’m only there for the religious world credit), but I find it hard to believe that they’d resist more fans in attendance.
Something needs to change in regards to the current chapel/convo situation. If I can come up with these opinions in under ten minutes, I can only imagine the frustrations of the people who have been thinking about this all semester.
For example, many people have mentioned that they can’t make it to bonus convocations at 10 a.m. on Mondays or Fridays because this is no longer a “sacred” time, and they have meetings scheduled during this time. I’ve heard from others that it seems unfair that a two-hour concert is worth the same amount of credit as a thirty-minute chapel.
At this point, I think the best solution is to offer credit for every class attended, meal eaten or bathroom used on campus (although, even this would put commuters and students living off campus at a disadvantage).