Students celebrate listening

Six departments joined the Celebration of Student Writing.

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Eliana Park/THE CHIMES

Eliana Park/THE CHIMES

Eliana Park/THE CHIMES

Rebecca Mitchell, Writer

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As a new part of the Celebration of Student Writing, students could learn about different departments at listening booths on April 11 and 12.

Engagement with current issues

The English department invited all other departments on campus to join the celebration this year, in which they were asked to set up an interactive booth with an issue in their field. They were also required to relate the issue to the theme of “Courage to Listen,” based off of Biola’s “A Soul of Conviction, A Voice of Courage” campaign. Six departments agreed to have booths, including the Rhetoric and Writing Center, Student Government Association, the library, the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement, the Vision, Voice and Practice class and Spiritual Formation.

“At a Christian university, more than any school that I’ve ever taught at, we have so much baggage with the idea of calling [listening] a vocation. We never kind of help students understand that,” said Brenna Jones, professor of English. “So the idea I think behind the listening booths was always to try and engineer thoughtful engagement with some of the current issues, whatever those might be.”

The library’s booth included a board with cards under the three categories of novice, intermediate or source whisperer, which students would determine based on their comfort level with book sources, according to library circulation supervisor April Ray. Students would then answer a question on the back of the card and interact with the librarians to further answer the question.

“[My favorite part was] the interaction, seeing people’s realization that they can understand sources and have a new approach to handling it,” Ray said.

Effective listening

At the SGA booth, students could watch a short video about shema, which means hear or listen in Hebrew, and how in Jewish culture they valued listening to the Lord and each other, according to East Block senator and junior Christian ministries major Megan Collins. Students could also write down what it means to listen as well as have a senator listen to them.

“In SGA a big part of what we do is not just as a student government but as a student government where God is in the midst of what we’re doing. And so, we really believe that it adds a depth to listening that listening to the Lord, [and] listening to each other reflects a good relationship with the Lord,” Collins said.

While SGA regularly listens to students, the CSW gave them a designated time outside of their normal SGA Hour for students to engage with them more about their concerns. Alpha West senator and sophomore sociology major Alyssa Gutierrez enjoyed seeing the success of the booth.

“They interacted with the booth, but after they were like, ‘Hey,’ they interacted with me about concerns about school and how can we fix this? It was just great to [see], ‘Wow, these booths work,’” Gutierrez said.

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