Passion for knowledge compromised by the need for academic achievement

When we were growing up, we tinkered with toys, played outside in the dirt and learned because it was fun. Now we’re in college. The desire to truly learn has faded for many of us. We just want to get the grade. We want to be the know-it-all. We want to be at the top of our class.

School has changed the curiosity of our childhoods. We have little to no motivation to learn unless it will benefit one grade on the transcript of our $40,000-a-year education, yet we have so many other opportunities to grow.

There’s virtually a lecture every week in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, but most of the time you’ll only see the seats fill if there’s Core 150 extra credit involved. We only make the effort if there is a tangible incentive.

So, why aren’t we taking advantage of these opportunities? Shouldn’t growing in knowledge be incentive enough?

It seems as though there’s too much going on at Whitworth. We are bombarded with emails each day, blinded by posters walking into the HUB and, frankly, we just have other stuff on our plate.

Whitworth students tend to want to be involved in everything; we want to make positive changes, but it’s as if we’ve chosen quantity over quality. Most people do things they are passionate about. However, seldom do they branch out and gain insight on other topics that they haven’t explored or things that can only increase them in knowledge. We tend to want things that will get us points, look good on our resumes or get us ahead in some way.

That decision comes with the culture we live in today. We are told to only spend time on things that are “worth it,” things that will help us become “successful.” If there aren’t rewards, society tells us it’s not worth it.

In addition to the stresses of school, many of us are constantly reliant on smart phones and computers to keep us connected and updated with information. Although technology is a blessing in some regards, when its constant place in our lives is coupled with academic obligations, the result is a loss of learning motivation.

That’s not to say that we don’t benefit from what we learn in classes, but because of our priorities and schedules, the emphasis shifts to the grade we receive as the driving component of our academic agenda. If there is no incentive to increase our grade, we don’t try.

In reality, we have the time to explore new things. It doesn’t even have to be a lecture. If we spent just a few minutes a day immersing ourselves in new information, we would amaze ourselves with how much we could learn.

This editorial board encourages students to take into account the dynamic of balancing the busyness of academics and other campus commitments with learning and satisfying personal interests.

If we fail to grow in knowledge through exploring ideas without incentive, we fail to grow as people. Whitworth is a place that prides itself on preparing people for to be well-rounded individuals, fully equipped to take a meaningful place in society.

In its defense, Whitworth gives us the tools to do so; however, we don’t take those opportunities. The lectures that are offered are to expose students to different perspectives and ways of life. It’s time for us to do our parts. Whitworth can try to equip us in every way, but until we take advantage of that, it’s meaningless.

Ultimately, your grade is a number. It will likely impact you for the next couple of years as you apply for graduate school or jobs. However, once you start that job or degree, the number of points you got on your final exam will mean nothing.

What will have meaning is the information that had enough of an impact on you to stick, the experiences you have had, and the skills you have gained. These are not things that come from cramming for an exam, but rather from going to those lectures, discussing interesting topics with your friends or professors and delving into the things that interest you most. Go earn the points that count.

Whitworthian Editoral Board Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

 

In the Loop: ASWU reflects student perspective, however accountability is still crucial

Do you know your dorm senator? Do you know who the vice president of ASWU is? Most students are unaware of the members who make up ASWU and the immense power that they hold. The body serves as a bridge between students and administration and many issues that impact students are decided by them. ASWU encompasses a wide variety of individuals who represent different perspectives of students on campus. These 30 or so individuals are elected or hired to serve as the overall voice for the student body, which is comprised of around 2,200 people. Such a small percentage of individuals maintain power on issues that influence all of us on varying levels.

Every semester, each student makes a mandatory payment of $110 in order for concerts, campus programs and more to take place, which ASWU also handles. These individuals hold the power to determine what events will happen, what clubs will be given what resources and how much of the administration’s actions will be shared with students. For example, ASWU members are often the first to know about administrative decisions or tentative future plans. Along with this, ASWU members are often the student representatives on a variety of committees around Whitworth.

This board firmly believes that students need to become more familiar with the role of ASWU on campus and become more knowledgeable about what’s going on. There are plenty of ways to be clued into what is taking place in the chambers; the first one being the open meeting held every week.

Students are invited every week to join ASWU on Wednesday nights to learn about what the issues that are of concern to the campus. ASWU even bribes students with a free meal if they attend. Also, each week in The Whitworthian, there is a breakdown of everything that was discussed in the ASWU meeting the previous week if people are not able to go. This year, a video version of the discussion has also been implemented to cater to those who dislike reading and to adapt to a social media era.

Just as there are checks and balances in the government for a reason, students are responsible for holding ASWU accountable in many ways. Since such a small body serves as the voice for many, it is crucial that they be held under a microscope to a certain extent. If students aren’t aware of what is taking place in the chambers, information could be withheld or distorted and decisions could be made that don’t reflect the perspectives of the students. Although these people were elected by the student body for a reason, they are still humans who make mistakes. If we fail to check in on them, we run the risk of giving trust blindly and having it backfire.

Over the course of a month, ASWU discussed transparency, the issue of disclosing information passed down from administration to students. Sparked by a speaker who asked information to be kept discreet in a public meeting, ASWU decided that a system needed to be put in place to ensure that information would not be kept from students. The four-week discussion eventually led to the decision of an executive session being held for sensitive information that ASWU needed to discuss. Executive sessions would only be open to elected ASWU officials; anything discussed in these sessions would not be revealed to the student body. This is an example of a decision that has been made that impacts students and hasn’t been widely publicized.

Your involvement and voice do not need to be limited to voting, whether the issues at hand are in Whitworth, your home state or the nation. In the same way that you can make your voice heard on local issues by contacting your senators or representatives, one of the easiest ways to ensure ASWU has the opportunity to hear your input is to contact the representative for your dorm or another ASWU member.

This board encourages you to remember how important it is to be informed. A lot comes into play here: your money, your school and, ultimately, your decisions.

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

Technology should be used in moderation to avoid dependency

In a day and age when technology has taken the driver’s seat of our lives, the realization can be made that reliance on it has detrimental effects. No one would dispute the fact that it is convenient to be up to date with technology. Many people wait in line to get the latest gadgets, updating year after year. We need the cell phones that have the fastest internet speed, the best camera and the most “brain power”.

Slowly, we are relinquishing our ability to think for ourselves and allowing “robots” to rule our lives. The dependence that is put on technology reduces the amount of thinking that we have to do throughout the day. While that makes life easier, it also creates a less well-rounded person.

As soon as we get out of class, we are plugged in. We are looking down and texting our friends as we walk to our next destination, unaware of the people with whom we could be having face-to-face conversations.

We listen to music or watch television rather than talking with our friends and families. We are unsure of how to act in a setting without our technology. We have become brainless without it.

Not only does reliance affect mental activity, it affects physical activity as well. Before the days of technology, people were more active.

Exercise was needed to get through the day and was built into daily routines due to a “do-it-yourself” period of time. Now, however, one can do almost anything from a cell phone or computer, yet we are still too busy to lift a finger.

Theoretically, one does not even need to leave the house to sustain living. At the click of a mouse or the touch of a button, you can get mostly everything you need to lead a basic lifestyle.

According to buzzle.com, technology creates sedentary citizens with a lack of ability to exert physically. Do we want to become a society that fails to think or act for itself simply to make life easier?

Reliance begins from an early age and more and more, we find that it plays into who we are and who we become.

We have three-year-olds playing with iPads, 10-year-olds with cell phones. Children are spending hours a day online, foregoing the face-to-face relationships that are crucial for growth and development. From a young age, people are starting to miss reality. Many components of interpersonal communication are not being developed due to the lack of physical interaction. We are becoming people who do not know how to relate to others.

Technology allows us to be people who are not in tune with ourselves and others. We hide behind computers and phones, networking, socializing and allowing people to “get to know” us.

However, the mere fact that you can pretend to be someone you are not takes away from the authenticity of relationships.

Technology has also affected us on an even deeper level: security. With the birth of the Internet came the rise of scamming, hacking, etc. While the Internet has given way to many wonderful things, it is important to take a look at the other side.

The Internet is an open platform that lacks a lot of regulation and has harmed countless lives due to identity theft and issues of that nature. It allows people to steal from one another, harm society and meddle in corruption.

This board has experienced, firsthand, the wonderful benefits of the rise of technology and values the importance that is holds in our society. It has made life easier, more relaxing and has connected us to the rest of the world.

However, it is important to remember the bad that comes with this rise. We are becoming a society that is unable to act on its own, which creates fear for the future.

All good things should be used in moderation. If we continue to rely heavily on technology, we will get to a point where dependence is our only option.

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

In the Loop: Whitworth ought to be grateful in the midst of first-world problems

How much time do you spend complaining about lack of sleep, overabundance of homework or internet connection problems? UNICEF New Zealand, partnering with UMR research, surveyed New Zealanders about their “First World Problems” and the results were striking. Although New Zealand is far different from the United States, we share a commonality: we don’t realize how good we have it. Some of the biggest problems from the survey included slow internet speed, the barista not making good enough coffee, getting a bad haircut and an uncomfortable couch. Most of us can relate to some of these and even think of some of our own. Whitworth’s “First World Problems” may be annoyance with Blackboard not working, not being able to access email, not being able to access the Internet in our dorm or our cell phone service not working in certain buildings around campus.

As students today, technology and internet are increasingly part of not only our entertainment world, but also our academic endeavors. We rely heavily on technology throughout the day. Fast internet can be the difference between finding three great sources for your next essay in fifteen minutes, and spending an afternoon waiting as each page loads at a painfully slow rate. If you can’t access Blackboard, it can mean not having access to materials you need for an assignment, or not being able to turn in an assignment on time. And, let’s be honest: Slow internet means it’s difficult to stream your favorite TV show via Netflix when you don’t have ready access to a TV. While some of these challenges are valid, it’s important to look at the bigger picture.

We often consider our community to be within the “Pinecone Curtain” of the Whitworth pine trees and are encouraged to get involved outside of campus in the Spokane community. We should also take time to consider our situation in the “Pinecone Curtain” as it pertains to the situation we are blessed with at Whitworth. On campus, we have campus-wide internet access and are constantly building and improving facilities to state-of-the-art measures. These blessings  among others create an exceptional living and learning environment, even by first world standards.

It is important to be grateful that we have these options available to us. Our “First World Problems” are incomparable to those of other countries; we are well-equipped with a great community that surrounds us, clothes on our back, food prepared for us, fresh, clean water at our disposal and an opportunity for education that will help us in the future. Not many people have the opportunity to have what we do -- we are privileged to be in the situation and place we are currently in.

Not every college student’s problems are all trivial. Some students manage a chronic illness, balancing their school work and other responsibilities with trips to the doctor and all of the things they have to do to manage their illness. Many work multiple jobs to pay for school and living expenses, and still will come out of school with debt. Figuring out what path to take after graduation is a serious issue that everyone has to deal with at some point as well. Others may be dealing with family issues, struggling to make it through a day without the weight of those issues bearing down on them, causing them stress.

Still, the fact that you are here means that somewhere along the way you received some pretty incredible advantages. This board is not saying people should never complain, but advocates putting things into perspective. Let’s face it, we all have those days where we need to vent, but it shouldn’t allow us to focus strictly on ourselves.

When your “First World Problems” arise, perhaps you can use it as an opportunity to think about the many ways in which you have it good.  Or, even go further into finding a way to help out those whose problems are a little more serious than your own.

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

Though founded on Christian values, Whitworth does not impose its faith

Coming to a Christian school, students are aware that religion is sewn into the fabric of Whitworth. Students are not tricked into believing that faith is not an integral part of the university. This editorial board believes that this approach by Whitworth should be appreciated and embraced by the student body.

Whitworth has Christian values and mission, but it does not strive to impose these elements on its students. Opportunities abound for students to explore and implement their Christian values, but these opportunities are not forced upon students. The university itself acknowledges its Presbyterian background while making a conscious effort to be as accepting as possible. It is impossible to attend this school and not expect to be exposed to any elements of the Christian faith.

Modern culture seems to value inclusiveness, but there comes a point where that inclusiveness precludes any attempt to converse frankly on difficult subjects. It would be easy for Whitworth to lose its rich and religious background in an attempt to conform to the values of today. Instead, the school does a good job of allowing students of different backgrounds and beliefs to have a say in what happens at Whitworth without losing religious traditions.

For a university founded on Christian doctrine, Whitworth is comparatively liberal. At Azusa Pacific University, students are required to attend chapel three times a week. Here, chapel is not required, but half an hour has been blocked out twice a week for students to gather if they so desire. It’s an open invitation without the pressure.

From others’ experiences, Christian universities refrain from having discussions surrounding taboo topics. Whitworth, on the other hand, embraces these discussions.

The campus comes together to shed light on topics including homosexuality and racism. The ‘Hear from an Atheist’ event has also become tradition. The fact that the university sponsors a discussion surrounding atheism is a testament to the idea that Whitworth is not imposing in nature. Not only is it accepted to be of a different faith, a space is created to hear what one believes and why one believes it.

The school also offers a wide-range of classes that are based off the perspectives of others and Whitworth allows students to engage in academic work by authors of various backgrounds and faiths. A fair portion of the Core program provides students with ideas that are non-Christian and opens their eyes to many views.

Whitworth also encourages study abroad experiences, allowing students to dive into a completely different culture. For many of these trips, students experience cultures that are not dominantly Christian or Western in their ideology. This allows students an opportunity to understand different perspectives and to bring that new understanding back to Whitworth when they return.

However, there is only so much that professors and administration can do to promote an open atmosphere. At some point, it becomes the students’ responsibility to embrace the different perspectives and backgrounds of others.

College is a time to explore and discover, and part of that is beginning to own your personal beliefs. When we pass up the opportunity to openly discuss things with people who may have different views, we make it easier to hold the views we already have, but we also reject an opportunity to hone our beliefs and come to new, deeper understandings.

Whitworth gives us an incredible opportunity for openness, but many viewpoints will never make it to the surface if students do not show a willingness to listen respectfully to differing opinions. Students must embrace Whitworth’s approach to Christian values and be grateful for an environment that fosters growth in spirituality.

Whitworthian Editoral Board Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

Wear a helmet: Bike safety should be priority for Whitworth community

When we first learn to ride bikes as kids, we are equipped with a helmet, knee and elbow pads, fluorescent clothing for visibility on the road and a reminder to look both ways when crossing the street. While it may seem silly to remember the precautions taken as a child, it’s important to remember that bicycle safety doesn’t only apply to kids. According to cyclehelmets.org, bicycling accidents cause approximately 1,300 deaths per year; both adults and children make up that total. There is proof that the use of a helmet could have prevented death in many of those instances. In fact, cyclehelmets.org estimates that helmets could have prevented about 87 percent of those deaths.

We have heard the consequences of a tragic fall or getting hit by a car on the way home; however, college students generally tend to be ignore basic bicycle safety. Helmets aren’t exactly a positive fashion statement and they aren’t conducive to maintaining a certain hairstyle either. But is that really worth risking  your life?

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle has been a city law in Spokane since 2004. Although Whitworth is located just inside Spokane County, the law should still be followed as a safety precaution.

Although not heavily enforced around the Spokane area, this law was made to ensure bicycle safety. It is a law that is neglected by many. This board feels that the Whitworth community should abide by the law, even though it technically doesn’t apply to our location.  Our city leaders have seen the devastating effects of irresponsible riding and their actions to curb biking accidents should speak loudly to us.

It may not be a huge deal if bike riding only occurs on campus. The chances of getting hit by a car or crashing into a tree between your dorm room and class are slim. But once you are faced with a high-traffic street such as Division, chances of an accident increase. The lack of bike lanes on many of the roads in Spokane also means that bikers need to take personal steps to ensure their own safety. Along with these considerations, riding your bike at night can increase the danger of being in an accident.

Properly-designed helmets work to absorb the force of a fall or crash that would normally cause head injuries. The thick foam that molds to the head of a helmet user surrounds the skull and serves as a wall of protection; this can be crucial due to the fragility of our skulls. With wide availability and inexpensive costs, they are accessible to almost anyone. Still, people choose not to wear them for various reasons. Some are opposed because they believe that a simple bike ride should not necessitate armor, even if it is just across campus. Some believe that helmets cannot truly save them in the event of an accident. At this stage in life, most people just tend to feel invincible. They hear the statistics and they know the facts, but they believe it will never be them. Despite safe bike riding, drivers of cars cannot always be trusted to have bicyclists’ best interest in mind, therefore putting bicyclists at a constant disadvantage. All it takes is one wrong move or one irresponsible driver.

This board urges the Whitworth community to make bicycle safety a priority. For those who rely heavily on biking for transportation, the investment in a helmet is an important one. It may feel inappropriate and one may even get some weird looks, but the results of an accident are much worse. For those who bike at night, reflective clothing or bike lights may also be a good investment.

No matter how childish, ridiculous or sweaty a helmet may be, looking cool on a bike is not worth the consequences that come after an accident. You are never too old to remember that voice that you heard as a child saying, “Wear your helmet and look both ways.”

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

In the Loop: Exercising your right to vote keeps your government in good shape

With election season just around the corner, many Americans are taking their stances on certain issues affecting society; however, Whitworth students seem to be the exception. Still, Whitworth is not alone. Many college students across the country do not deem voting important. Although many of the issues set before American voters affect our generation, young adults seem to be apathetic.

According to civicyouth.org, people ages 18-29 make up 24 percent of the voting population in the United States, but only 51 percent of this age range actually exercise that freedom.

On July 1, 1971 the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution made it illegal to set a voting age higher than 18 years old. This editorial board encourages Whitworth to take advantage of this amendment and the opportunity to vote that has been made available to individuals ages 18-21. It is never too early to start caring about issues that affect our daily lives.

Looking around the Whitworth campus only affirms the belief that we live behind the “pinecone curtain”. There are few political signs in dorm windows and few campus events discussing the election. We aren’t caring as much as we should about the important decisions our nation, state and community must make within the next few months. The outcome of the upcoming election has the potential to change our future.

Why should we care? We have more important things to do than research the issues and candidates that are going to be on the ballot; we have to go to Prime Times, the coffee shop and play Frisbee, right?

While it’s important to be plugged into the campus, it’s also important to know what is going on beyond Whitworth.

Staying educated on current events should be a part of our routines. As college students, we have the freedom to make decisions that can impact the future, yet we aren’t taking full advantage of that. The campus seems to be lacking the passion and education needed during this election season.

Within the next four years, many of us will be pursuing careers, renting or buying homes and getting married. The policies that we vote for today will impact us in the future.

Even if the current issues are not of interest to some students, the demographics that vote are the ones that politicians focus on. Showing up on the polls could increase focus on matters that are of interest to your segment of the population.

Even if national issues seem too distant, there are plenty of worthwhile local matters to be educated on. Local issues affect us more than national issues and our vote carries more weight in local elections.

For instance, issues seen on the Washington state ballot this year include same-sex marriage, state transportation funding and sustainability for Spokane.

It is important to do research on the issues society is facing and to be an educated voter. Getting clued in is easy. Smartphone apps such as Flipboard and Downcast provide current events for someone who is constantly on the go. Most newspapers and magazines also have smartphone apps.

It may also be a good idea to check what political experts are saying about the candidates and the issues involved. They have done their research and you can form an educated opinion based on their findings. How the information is acquired is irrelevant. Once you know the facts, you can form opinions of your own in order to be a smart voter.

Registering to vote is easy. By going to http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Voting.shtml one can print off a registration form and begin impacting society.

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu

In the Loop: Concerns about parking remain as Whitworth continues its expansion

As Whitworth University continues to expand, with the recent completion of the Bill Robinson Science Building and Hixson Union Building expansion, the issue of convenient parking in high-traffic areas on campus is becoming increasingly apparent. Not only is the university growing larger, but adding a new rec center behind Westminster will likely add to the problem. At this time there is enough parking for cars on campus; however, that parking is not evenly distributed. Commuters often have trouble finding parking near their class locations, and designated areas for visitor parking are not well-known.

With popular areas sharing the same parking lot, there seems to be a problem with accommodation — if students only need to go to the HUB, yet can’t find parking, is it really fair for them to have to park as far as the Baldwin-Jenkins parking lot? This poses a problem for commuters as the campus continues to expand.

Although the campus is small in size in comparison to other universities, making a quick stop at buildings isn’t an easy task because there aren’t enough parking spots in the areas that are used most, as the majority of buildings on campus share parking lots that are quickly filled up.

With the recent HUB expansion, three 10-minute parking spots were taken away, leaving those quick stops at the HUB inconvenient, since parking spots in the main lot are a rarity.

Parking is already a substantial problem on campus; however, it seems apparent that the problem could potentially increase over time.

Whitworth’s 2021 plan includes a vision to move parking outside of the pedestrian campus parameters. Although this plan is safer for those who walk across campus, this editorial board questions if there will be enough parking spots, and if those spots will be convenient in terms of location.

The idea of moving parking off campus is good in theory because it will help minimize the dangers of possible car-versus-pedestrian collisions; however, parking lots outside the campus invite car theft, since few people will be around those areas. These parking lots will also take away the prospect of having convenient parking.

This board believes that there should be more organization in terms of parking. Instead of a free-for-all parking system, designated spots should be given based on place of residence. Those who live on campus should be assigned specific places to park, leaving clearly-marked spaces for commuters.

There should also be commuter-only parking since they are the ones who are most affected by the difficult parking situations.

Visitor parking should also be clearly marked and accessible to free up the spaces used at different points in the day. With an organized system, the parking spots that Whitworth does have would be utilized effectively and commuters would not be forced to park long distances from their destination.

For future buildings, Whitworth could even consider copying the style of Gonzaga University’s Kennedy dorm by constructing a parking garage underneath the building, which would eliminate the need for dorm parking. There are many options for ways to improve this situation.

Instead of focusing simply on constructing more buildings, this board believes that it is essential to look at the bigger picture, which includes adequate parking for all of the new construction.

With new buildings should come more parking spaces and an efficient way for students to utilize them.

Whitworthian Editoral Board

Contact the editorial board at croach14@my.whitworth.edu