Staff Editorial: three awareness weeks in one makes it hard to focus on issues
In an effort to address multiple issues, it seems that Biola has bit off more than it can chew. Sexual Assault Awareness Week, Creation Stewardship Week and Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week have all fallen within the span of seven days. While all of these causes are worthy of our attention and subsequent action, focusing on three at a time detracts from engaging with them to the degree they deserve.
The students on Biola’s campus are involved in a variety of activities, ministries and causes. Students feel different tugs on their hearts to devote themselves to specific areas. Because of these differences in attention-giving, it is difficult for Biola to cast equal light on all of these issues. There are simply not enough weeks in the school year to give the same amount of coverage to each issue.
Because of this smorgasbord of causes all clamoring for awareness and action, none will receive complete, undivided attention. This means that environmentally concerned students will probably focus on the Creation Stewardship events and miss out on the other two causes altogether. The same is true for any other student. We will attend the chapel sessions, special lectures and events that are dedicated to our own interests, missing the opportunity to become informed on topics we know little about.
Most promoted week receives most attention
But isn’t this the case whether these events land on the same week or not? Well, yes and no. Sure, there are many events some students won’t go to, but on this campus with its limited space and time for events, naturally some events will get pushed to the side. The awareness week that commandeers the sacred space of chapel slots will be the one most heavily promoted and attended, obviously. This week, most of the chapels concentrated on sexual violence awareness, but this isn’t to say Creation Stewardship or Holocaust Awareness planning committees offer substandard events. And the event planners with the biggest budget will be the ones with the biggest events.
We can’t help but ask, why this week? Creation Stewardship falls the week of Earth Day, so that makes sense. But we overshot National Holocaust Remembrance by a week, and though this month is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Student Development’s choice to begin Sexual Violence Awareness Week this week, from the outside, seems arbitrary. Why the lack of communication?
It doesn’t seem too unlikely that an undergirding drive for events like this is the understanding that, at the end of the semester, students need to get chapel credits out of the way. Undoubtedly, these events are driven by a desire for attendance — and, for Biola students, chapel credit is quite the extrinsic motivator. However, chapel credit or not, attendance would be a bit more of a sure shot if awareness week events weren’t fighting for our attention.