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Inquiring Minds: Spiritual Emphasis Week needs new emphasis

Spiritual Emphasis Week is misnamed. It’s not a week where spirituality is emphasized, it’s three days when students can easily forget God. Last week, this year’s incarnation of the event, the only difference for many students from any other time of year was Thursday’s changed class schedule.

It’s not that Eastern is unspiritual. Students participate in a host of spiritual activities, from chapel and Grow Groups to Sunday night worship and individually-led Bible studies. Clubs such as Y.A.C.H.T. and SPEAK strive to obey God’s commands to provide justice for the oppressed.

No, the problem with Spiritual Emphasis Week isn’t students’ apathy. It’s their disconnect from school-sponsored events and their saturation with lectures by people they’ve never heard of.

Bringing somebody to school to speak at Chapel and Windows and a couple other times won’t excite anybody. All students get excited about are those shorter Thursday class times.

The event feels like some leftover program somebody once cared about but nobody got around to ending. Something like Spirit Week.

It’s time to get students involved. That’s the key to the success of almost every other spiritual activity on campus. The most popular Grow Groups are those that allow input from their members. Sunday night worship is led by student worship teams.

We suggest that a student committee be given charge of Spiritual Emphasis Week. Under Joe Modica, they would decide on the theme, choose speakers and organize the activities.

The committee should consist of club leaders and student chaplains, people who will know what will most excite and benefit students. That way, they can pick speakers who reflect student interests. They can spread the event from three days to five days.

And they can get creative. The committee would partner with Watchmen and the Newman Club, for example, to organize prayer vigils or all-night Aquinas readings.

A diversity of activities would ensure that there was at least one or two events to interest every student. A student who’s not interested in attending a lecture may be drawn to the interdenominational time of prayer. A student who can’t attend Friday morning’s activity can go to Friday afternoon’s worship service.

If students are in charge of Spiritual Emphasis Week, maybe it will become something students actually want to attend.

Inquiring Minds is the collective opinion of the editorial staff and not necessarily representative of the entire staff. It is written by the managing editor and the editor-in-chief.

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