Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How much is enough?

There are some issues that are just easy to get behind. When we are forced to consider these societal challenges, when we really acknowledge the issue, it’s an easy decision to act.

For instance, Habitat for Humanity’s “theology of a hammer,” the idea of sharing God’s love by working WITH (as opposed to FOR) people in need to build affordable, decent housing. When you see a family who is trying to improve their circumstances but cannot because of a housing situation, the decision to give them a hand up is an easy one.

I think this year’s Civic Engagement Theme, “Living with Enough: Responding to Global Poverty,” is another good example.

We have heard from students feeling conflicted as they look into their over-stuffed closets upon returning from cross cultural experiences. One of our student workers told us of the lengths his host family went to for fresh water. That conversation often comes to mind when I’m mindlessly running water while doing dishes.

When proofing the Civic Engagement Day schedule last week, I was impressed with the breadth of sessions being offered that day, with how many different departments are presenting and how many of these presentations are being led by students. Art, business studies, biology, mathematics, TESOL, religion, sociology and education are just a few of the departments taking part in Civic Engagement Day on April 6.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the campus has adopted a campus-wide theme to guide academic and student life projects. Each year the theme begins with assigned summer reading for first-year students and concludes with a day set aside for reflection in the spring. In between there are class discussions, student life activities, special Forum speakers and other academic presentations. Previous civic engagement themes have been the environment, security and immigration.

It’s obvious that “Living with Enough” has touched students, faculty and staff alike this year. Accepting the challenge presented by a fall semester Forum speaker, a group of students traveled to Atlanta to work with Mission Year during spring break.

May we continue to struggle with the question of how much is enough beyond the end of this academic year.

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