Exposing convo for what it truly is

Megan Walker, Opinions Editor

Nearly every Samford student dreads going to convo.

Many put off getting the required credits and find themselves begrudgingly spending their Tuesday and Thursday mornings in Reid chapel during their senior year. While at convo, students often do homework, surf social media or fall asleep as “Come Thou Fount” is played.

Convocation is meant to make us holistic, more well-rounded students. Since Samford changed the format of convo a couple of years ago, however, it is instead subtly trying to make us “more Christian.”

Samford is a Christian school, and the majority of students have Christian beliefs, but not all of our students adhere to the Christian faith. There is a big difference between living out the school’s Christian principles and forcing them upon others.

Samford has also made an effort to increase the diversity on campus. Requiring students of other or no religious affiliations to attend 60 worship services is not promoting diversity; it is suggesting that all students should believe the same way.

Cadres can be taken in lieu of attending some convo sessions, but even many of the cadres are religiously based. Students trying to avoid attending campus worship services each week can instead learn how to discern God’s will in their lives or do Yoqua—water yoga with a devotional.

I am not suggesting that Samford should stop offering students opportunities to grow their Christian faith or come together for a time of worship. That said, it should not force students to do so. It will not make students more well-rounded, but it will make students resentful that they have to go.

There are ways that convocation could be revamped to make students more well-rounded, however. Instead of worship services, students could be required to attend a number of other campus and local activities.

Some events, like plays, offer convocation credit. Similar events such as music and dance recitals, operas, art exhibits and theater productions are a great way for students to get exposure to the arts.

Similarly, attending events at the planetarium open up students to a field of science some might never have experienced in prior years.

Attending sporting events is more than just a leisure time activity. Imagine how much more excited our players, especially those of lesser-attended sports like golf or tennis, would be if students were required to go to at least one game or match for each sport.

Off campus, students’ education could be all the more holistic if they were required to sit in on a local town hall or city council meeting. People are much more likely to continue civic engagement as adults if their involvement begins during their youth.

Requiring a certain number of community service hours or volunteering for a non-profit would also make students more well-rounded. Students could find causes they never knew they were passionate about or get involved with an organization that creates real change in the community.

Convocation is not a bad thing, but it either needs to be updated or recognized for what it is: requiring students to worship in a certain way in a specific setting 60 times before they can graduate.

Samford, I challenge you to helps students become more well-rounded instead of resentful toward the beliefs you were founded upon.

Walker is a senior journalism and mass communication major.

1 comment

  1. Allison Nanni says:

    You suggest community work as a constructive way to grow and develop a habit of civic engagement. I couldn’t agree with you more. What better way to “walk the walk” and grow in faith? In the Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership this semester, we have over 140 students registered for service cadres and earning convo credit by spending time volunteering each week at over 11 different faith-based and secular nonprofits offered at different times 7 days a week. Come visit us in the Mann Center in Brooks Hall, online or in banner to learn more.

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