by Christian Diaz, News Editor
In response to instances of racial insensitivity, sexual misconduct and vandalism on campus, the administration, along with student caucus, decided that a campus creed will help reaffirm the conscious community we seem to crave.
We all know Warren Wilson is not a perfect place, and our community seems to grapple with a rotating set of identity crises. Seriously, maybe it’s just the senioritis speaking, but doesn’t it seem like we’re all nostalgic for an ideal Warren Wilson that perhaps never existed?
At the community meeting that was held on Leap Day, Feb. 29, over 150 participants came together to discuss proposals for a campus creed. What surfaced, essentially, are a list of key words and key concepts that define the ideals of the population here. The most recurrent of these are inclusion, respect and accountability.
I’m confident that caucus members will draft a beautiful creed, and that the message will be dispersed throughout campus in creative, inspiring ways.
However, I want to argue that the message itself is not as useful or creative as the process that brought it about. We can’t build the community that we want by declaring our intentions. We build it by spending time together, and by engaging each other in meaningful ways—just like we did during the community meeting.
Don’t worry, this letter isn’t about to fall apart into a fluffy wish list calling for all of us to gather and hold hands, or to sing hymns, although that would be lovely.
What I’m saying is that the school needs to come up with better events that provide an opportunity for students and faculty to come together. It’s not surprising that the community meeting was so well attended; it’s been long over-due.
Granted, “coming together” and finding community is a responsibility of the individual. Indeed, there is ample opportunity here for students and faculty and staff to gather over mutual interests, whether it is in a class or on a service trip, or a movie night at Sage Café. But the types of events I envision are grander.
What I’m asking for are more unusual, enlightening events for the community. Let’s have more speakers come, and not just the typical academics whose expertise resides in environmental issues (though I do appreciate these). How about up and coming artists, musicians, and comedians?
How about school-sanctioned 21+ parties, with bouncers who check IDs, where students who are of age can hang out with faculty and staff? How about in one of the barns? Wouldn’t that be great for the graduating class?
And let’s not exclude our younger community members either. We need more events that are inclusive of the whole college. There are many traveling acts, and even a local Asheville circus that we can host in the Gym (during the Fall Semester, when students don’t put on our own Circus).
We need Warren Wilson Idol, where students can compete in Cannon Lounge through their singing, or an Art Day, as had been proposed by students Rachel Rudi and Jill Winisby-Fein, where all work crews and student groups can come together for a day to put on workshops.
Students, I feel, are craving such large-scale events. Parties are discouraged from occurring on campus it seems. We can’t even have bonfires on Dogwood anymore without being approached by Pub Safe. The Bubba’s becoming a legend. The culture at Warren Wilson has changed since I first arrived.
I understand the college has a reputation to polish. But c’mon, this school is more than unique. It’s plain weird. We all come here because we want something different, and expect something different from a mainstream college experience. For a place with so many creative, idiosyncratic people, we really need to do a better job of finding reasons to celebrate our uniqueness together. That would truly mend insensitivity on campus.