Swiper no swiping: my problems with Samford’s convocation

Halley Smith, Managing Editor

There are definitely several things I hate about Samford, from the fact that I can’t keep cats in my room to the security guards who can’t be bothered to look up from the computer when I drive in past 10 p.m., but my least favorite thing about Samford would still have to be the new convocation requirements.

Back in the good old days of my freshman year, convocation requirements were a little different. There was a cap of 15 credits per category and five categories to chose from, including categories dedicated to community service, personal and professional development, academic advancement and culture.

But then, one fateful spring, Shiloh was cancelled, and the University Minister decided that we needed more faith added to our already overwhelmingly religious campus. Personally, I was elated; I thrive on the condemning glares I receive from students when I stroll into the Caf on a Sunday in sweats and t-shirts, but academically, a part of me died.

Before school started for the fall semester, I was one of several students who got the chance to hear Matt Kerlin and Brian Pitts speak about the changes to convocation, and they prefaced the news by telling us they were getting rid of the category system and replacing it.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Samford decided to eliminate the category system in order to fill our convocation reports with mandated faith and development credits instead.

Personally, I’m really bothered by this. I used to enjoy (I use the term loosely) convo as a way to morph ito the type of well-rounded academic who attended lectures on the topics of the day and worked in the community to enhance the quality of life for those around me.

Now, convo has become a miserable hour of my week when I sit upstairs on the balcony reading for class instead of listening to the poorly played cajons of campus worship.

For those who love convo and worship, that’s great. I admire your strength of spirit. I really do. But please don’t look down at me as I scroll through Twitter instead of listening to speakers preach at me. I’m busy reading about global news, market trends and other topics that have real world implications for me as a woman and a student. I’m also probably on Yik Yak.

Stripping convocation of its wide ranging interests and severely limiting the events that qualify as convocation hurt the students and hurt the quality of life here. Instead of learning about global problems, personal health or serving others, Samford has forced its students into an over-crowded balcony to sit miserably for an hour instead of finding ways to enrich its educational breadth.

When I want to be evangelized to, I’ll let you know. But thanks for your concern, Samford.

Halley Smith is a senior journalism and mass communication major. Email her at hsmith5@samford.edu.


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