Westmont Magazine Food for Thought
On any given day, a visitor to the Westmont dining commons can overhear many different and interesting conversations. What are students talking about during their lunch breaks and over dinner?
Of course, there are always conversations about what’s happening over the weekend, or who’s dating (or not dating) whom. But are students pondering, discussing and sharing ideas and concepts from the classroom?
When students step out of their classes are they leaving their new ideas at the door, or are they taking them out and integrating them into their social lives?
Encouraging this kind of integration is the goal of the newly formed Westmont Student Union. The club is dedicated to expanding the topics students discuss not only in the dining commons, but in their general social lives as well.
The union provides an interdisciplinary, student-led forum for the exchange of ideas. Founders of the new association hope to combat compartmentalization on the Westmont campus and help students bring together their academic, spiritual, and social lives.
“Our goal is that students don’t leave Christianity at the door of the classroom, academics at the door of the church, or both at the door of the party,” Ryan McDermott ’00 says. He is one of the students who worked together to design the union. They envision it as joining the Westmont College Student Association and Christian Concerns as a third organization sponsoring campus activities.
Its distinctive mission is fostering intellectual engagement among students of different disciplines and classes, encouraging the exchange of ideas through organized presentations, discussions and debates.
While the organization has centralized leadership and routinely organized meetings, a number of groups on campus, such as the Westmont Women’s Association, the Debate Club, and the Areopagus Society will be invited to participate as affiliates. The Westmont Student Union would then serve as an umbrella organization. As new student groups emerge, the association will work to incorporate them.
In particular, the union seeks to explore the implications of Christian commitment in scholarship, dealing with the questions of method, ethics and theology raised by a holistically Christian approach to academics.
While a president, vice-president and group of core members will oversee the union, David Hoekenga ’01, one of the founders, wants it to be run by anyone who’s interested in the exchange of ideas.
—Dawn Schmidt ’02