Music has power to establish a connection and allow for escape

There is a tremendous amount of power in music. Influence and inspiration lie in all aspects and areas of music from reading the lyrics, going to concerts, hearing rhythms, finding spiritual and deeper meanings, understanding the band’s story to appreciating the individual use of instruments and personally creating . Music plays a powerful role in people’s lives in multiple ways. For example, personal connection, connection with a larger community and the ability to escape into the music.

The first idea revolves around personal connection. Everyone has listened to a song before and thought ‘that is my life’ or ‘this is exactly how I feel.’ Lyrics can explain emotions that one may not be able to put into words. Deep songs, especially those explaining significant parts of life, make people feel they are not alone.

Some connect with the literal words, others look to find a spiritual meaning and some pay attention to the instruments and the beauty that lies in creating music. People may then be inspired to create their own music, sharing their emotions and stories through this form of expression in hope that it will touch someone the way it touched them.

Personally, I find a deeper, spiritual meaning and personal connection to Mumford and Sons. Yes, their music is now popular and everyone knows the lyrics to their songs, but to me they are not just another big name band. Listening to their song “Awake My Soul” and hearing “in these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die, where you invest your love, you invest your life,” makes me step back and look at  my life to see where I am investing my love. Is it in God or is it things of this world?

Music also allows people to connect to a larger community. I feel a sense of belonging and relating to others present at certain concerts, especially at small venues. People fall in love with music for personal reasons and then take a step further and decide they want to connect with the band on a real level by attending a live concert. Then, you stand there, shoulder to shoulder with people that have poured themselves into the same music for similar or different reasons. The band plays three chords, and the same feeling is stirred inside everyone.  Before you know it, everyone is singing and dancing together. Strangers and friends alike know the role the music has played in their lives and understand the power it can have.

A couple weeks ago I stood at a small venue in Seattle listening to the Local Natives, and it was then I realized how much I love concerts. Going to concerts is what my best friend and I do together. It has become our thing because we both understand the power music holds, and we love to dance and sing.  Being surrounded by people singing and dancing gave so much more depth to the music, it made it come alive.  Being able to witness bands become so hyped and energized because they are feeding off the energy of the crowd is incredible.

Finally, whether it is being played or listened to, music can become an escape. It allows people to retreat behind their instruments, or behind their voices to create beautiful sounds. They can put everything aside and pour into music. Through hearing others’ stories in songs about the good, bad, lonely, past, present, grace-filled, beautiful moments, they can put themselves into the song and escape.

The power of music in individuals’ lives is too often overlooked. Take advantage of the music around you. Let it touch you personally, allow yourself to stand in a sea of strangers and feel connected through a song and use it to escape the world when necessary.

Haley Williamson


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Graphic artist: Molly Rupp

Quantifiable factors fail to communicate quality

Graphic Artist: Caleb Drechsel I have recently seen the posts of high school seniors rolling in on Facebook wondering, contemplating, fretting and panicking about the notorious college decision. They wonder if they should attend big schools, small schools, private schools, public schools, schools close to home, or schools as far away as possible.

I chuckle a little bit as I read the anger of those students, but not because their feelings aren’t legitimate. Indeed, it is a big decision to choose where you will spend the next four years of your life. I remember those feelings of indifference, frustration, and excitement. I remember the sting of a rejection letter and the satisfaction of an acceptance. I remember restless nights of wondering how on earth I would ever get to the bottom of what seemed to be the abyss of factors, feelings and fears.

But now I chuckle because I know the deep relief and joy that comes once the decision is made, freshman move-in day is over and community has blossomed all around me.

I recently told a struggling high school senior that I have never been more thankful for the rejection letters I received.

Somehow the idea of a “name,” a reputation of a school, held a lot of weight. The lower the acceptance rate, the more famous the alumni, and let’s face it, the higher the tuition, had some appeal, as if those are the things that make a school “good.”

As I finish up year two here at Whitworth, I am willing to argue that so much of what I love about this place and so much of what I have experienced here will never fit in statistics, rankings, reports, tours or promotional materials.

That is not to say Whitworth does not excel in those areas, but I know my “why Whitworth”, as I sense is common for many students, isn’t in the numbers.     Whitworth is the 2 a.m. conversations with hallmates and the lazy Friday afternoons spent lounging on the grass in the Loop. Whitworth is the times when my professors don’t just say hi, but actually stop and check in with me when I run into them across campus, and those moments in class when I am finally able to articulate what I longed to my whole life, but didn’t have the tools to do so until the said moment.

No school is perfect. There is still hurt and conflict and final exams are a real thing too.

But I think it’s important for us as students to remember the immense blessing we have in being able to attend an institution with quality administration, faculty, staff and fellow students.

Whitworth is a phenomenal example of not only selecting a school on reputation and numbers, but on overall quality of life. It is that value that makes Whitworth quintessentially Whitworth.

Sena Hughes


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Privilege can become a catalyst for change

This week, the film “Girl Rising” aired on Whitworth’s campus. The film documented the lives of girls from different countries as they struggle to obtain an adequate education and be recognized as equal members of society. It features nine girls from countries including Cambodia, India, Nepal, Egypt, Peru, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Haiti and Sierra Leone. I had a strong gut reaction to the movie. At certain parts, I could feel my heart racing with anger. At others, I wanted to cry. There were parts where a smile crept across my face when I could see the girls overcoming significant obstacles. I can still clearly see the images of the girl from Haiti standing in a dump dreaming of going to school, the girl from Nepal trapped in the evil kamlari (indentured servitude) system, the girl from Peru dealing with her father’s death while passionately writing poetry and many others. After seeing those images, I know I can’t just sit back and wait for change. I have to take action. However, I’m not exactly sure what that action entails yet. I just know that I cannot stand the thought of not doing anything.

I also walked away from the movie with a feeling of guilt. What makes me deserving of an education, particularly at a high-caliber private school such as Whitworth? I complain about going to class. I complain about the piles of homework I have to do. I complain about not getting enough sleep. But in this film I saw girls who would give anything to be in my place right now, or at least have the opportunity to  get a basic education.

While I am still struggling with the guilt, I have realized that is not the message that I want to take from the movie. Yes, I am privileged. I was raised in a loving family, I have never struggled to meet my basic needs, I attended a private elementary school and some of the best public schools in the state, and now I am at a wonderful university.  I do not need to feel bad about being blessed in these ways. My education is not diminishing anyone else’s education. Rather, if used properly, my education can become a catalyst to improve others’ opportunity for education.

While I believe this is an incredibly valuable cause, I’m not trying to argue that everyone must now stand behind it. Instead, I believe that we need to examine how we use our privilege. Even though we all come from drastically different walks of life, we all attend Whitworth now, which gives us an incredible opportunity to become successful. Therefore, we are all privileged. Rather than telling ourselves that we don’t deserve this advantage, we can use this blessing to in turn make dramatic social change in our world.

Our privilege becomes dangerous when it allows us to become complacent. We have all been blessed with numerous and unique gifts that allow us to go out into the world and do something. Regardless of whether that is fighting for education quality, feeding the hungry, pushing for environmental protection or another important cause, our privilege gives us the ability, as well as the responsibility, to take action.

Lindsey Hubbart


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People are called to love Jesus and the Church

“I love God, but hate religion.” “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.” “I’m a spiritual person, but not really religious.”

These are the common statements of people everywhere, justifying their lack of interest in church. Church: just the name sounds dry and archaic. Rickety pews, musty hymnals and funny-smelling old people. Church attendance is on the rapid decline.

Not to mention, the church can be a disgrace. Too often we see protests, ignorant social statements, conservative politics, televangelism, money-hoarding, self-centeredness  and so on serving as the public face for Christianity.

Then consider the corruption within church. Arguments, division, scandals, cheating backstabbing sadly clog the community called “Christian” as much as, if not more than, any other community.

Saint Augustine once said, “The church is a whore, but she’s my mother.”

Most people probably don’t have a hard time associating with the first part of that statement, but the second we reject with a rather firm, “no thank you.”

Each time I see another ridiculous headline about some awful Christian leader making an irrational statement about something they really are not educated about or hear about another church polity meaning gone awry, I wonder why I do it or why anyone does it for that matter.

“But she’s my mother?” More often than not, I’d rather not be related to the church, but everyone knows that quirky family member that we don’t always like, but we love unconditionally.

The fact of the matter is, the church is a place full of sinners. Jesus himself said he didn’t come to call the righteous, but the sinners. And though we are sinful, at the core of Christian doctrine is a message of overwhelming grace and immense love. When we find camaraderie with other Christians because of that unmerited mercy we have been given, we call it church. When we join this church--this family, this body of believers--we are then bound not only to a communion with God, but a communion with one another.

Sure, someone can believe in Jesus and not attend church every Sunday, but the nature of the Christian faith is relationship and testament to what Christ has done. Christianity is not meant to be a loner’s club, but a body and an active, working, moving, breathing union. Eventually that person who thinks he or she can do it on his or her own will burn out.

Sena Hughes


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Safeconnect not best solution for internet connection


In the past year I have been just a little frustrated with the internet here on campus. Sometimes it is amazing and I can spend hours on Facebook and streaming the latest YouTube comedy, but other times I have to install safeconnect for the seemingly hundredth time in order to get any signal at all.

My friends and I discussed this and it seems to be happening to everyone.

I interviewed Jeremy Vonderfecht, a freshman computer science major, to see what he thought about the situation. He does not believe that Safeconnect is necessary.

“I've installed safe connect at least 72 times this year,” Vonderfecht said. “Other schools and organizations with more rigorous security protocol have managed without something like Safeconnect.”

I strongly dislike the Safeconnect system. I understand that we need an internet security system in place to protect the school, but I do not think that the current system is working.

From what I understand, Safeconnect protects our computers as well as the Whitworth network.

The irony of Safeconnect, for me at least, is that my virus protection system that I need to install Safeconnect and connect to the Whitworth server, blocks Safeconnect from installing.

Vonderfecht suggests a more individual approach rather than the Safeconnect system.

“Other schools have protection of the servers, but not the protection of individual computers,” Vonderfecht said, “If I want to get viruses, I should be able to get all the viruses that I can.”

I would like to see the system improved. I am not an authority on the subject, so I do not really know how it should be improved, but Vonderfecht believes the Safeconnect system should be abolished completely.

“I would like it if the university would look into other protocol that other universities are using,” Vonderfecht said.”

It is really annoying to have to log on and install Safeconnect every single day.

I have been to other universities where there are not nearly as many hoops to jump through in order to maintain a consistent internet connection. I would really like it if there were a way for a stronger internet all over campus without as many steps. Simple is better.

Whitney Carter


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Feminism need not have negative connotation

I have a confession to make:I am a feminist.

It felt good to get that off of my chest.

The word “feminist” carries such a strong negative connotation. There are a lot of people, who are both male and female, who believe in the idea of women having equal rights, but are wary of being labeled a “feminist” because of the connotation.

In my Women’s and Gender studies class, we discussed this issue. We noticed that a common thread is the idea of being “kind of” a feminist. These are people that believe in the ideas of feminism, but cannot bear the actual label. They say things like “I’m not a feminist, but…” I’m not a feminist, but women and men should have equal pay. I’m not a feminist, but violence against women is not okay. These people believe in the tenets of feminism, but a movement for women cannot be successful if we spend time fighting the label, rather than fighting for the issues.

That used to be ok for me. I wasn’t a feminist because of the associations with it, but as a woman, I still wanted rights for myself, my little sisters and any future daughters I might have. I want any future sons to grow up in a world that promotes equality. I want all the girls of the world to live without fear of violence, with access to education and with the rights that should be allowed to them as people, not only to those afforded with penises.

My problem with the label was, and still is the assumptions that people make when they hear “feminist.” For example, people believe that feminists are not feminine, that they hate men and that they are angry, along with other beliefs. In all honesty, those assumptions apply to some feminists, but definitely not all. For me, I have come to terms with my own feminism. I will fight for my rights, but I will not give up my femininity.

Personally, I am a feminist because we live in a rape culture where victims are shamed; take Steubenville for example. Major news outlets such as CNN complain about the destroyed 'Promising Future' of the Steubenville Rapists, while ignoring the ruined life of their victim who will have to carry this experience with her for the rest of her life. I’m a feminist because according to United States Department of Justice, “1 in 4 women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape during their college career,” and that could be me, or it could be my roommate, my sister or any one of the amazing women in my life. That’s not okay with me. I’m a feminist because according to Forbes magazine, “in management professions, men earn $1,328 each week while women earn $951—a 71.6% gap.”

American women have made leaps and bounds in the workplace and in government. We can vote, we can choose our husbands and we are afforded luxuries like access to education. At the same time, I don’t think that is enough. Until women are allowed the same respect and tolerance as men all over the world, I will continue to label myself a feminist with pride.

It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the label. I am a feminist and even though I don’t embody all the connotations that go along with it, I accept them on behalf of the women that fought before me, as well as the girls that will come after me. It’s not just my fight for equality, I fight for them.

Whitney Carter


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School should not trump other priorities

When you walk around campus and ask people where they are headed, what they have been up to or what their plans for the day are, a large majority of the answers will revolve around homework and studying.

Too often, we get caught up with the demands of school and the tedious aspects of homework and readings that we completely push other aspects of our lives to the bottom of our priorities.

It is as if school has become an unidentified idol in students’ lives.

I know I am guilty of this, of placing school in front of so many other important aspects of life.

I cancel grabbing coffee with good friends, sacrifice time in the morning that I would normally spend in the word and I lock myself inside library rooms without windows and fresh air.  School is important but does not always need be priority number one.

Being caught up in school and the need for straight A’s can cause relationships to suffer.  How will friends begin to feel when they need you, but homework comes first to answering the phone?  Or how will they feel the fifth time you cancelled going on a walk when that friendship does have great value, but not quite as much as an extra hour of studying?

Not only do people put school before worthwhile time with others, but they often also before their own health. Students feel the need to spend hours staring at the same computer screen cramming definitions, formulas and biographies into their brains when they know they have reached their breaking point.  Instead of taking that needed break, getting fresh air and doing something simply for themselves, they continue to push through.  They push through into stress, anxiety and the idea that every waking minute needs to be dedicated to studying.

School and work soon begin to fill the areas of our lives between others and personal needs.  School becomes church and worship and can lead to putting off time with God. That is not how school should be.

We should not have to sacrifice the things that bring us joy because school has to come first.  Students should not feel burdened to surrender things such as playing Frisbee, baking cookies, laying in the loop or reading a book simply for fun.  The things that bring joy into an individual’s life should not be forced to sit behind tests and deadlines, but rather go hand in hand to make all the work worthwhile.

School should not be the focal point of one’s life, but rather another aspect that makes life enjoyable.

When school gets in the way of relationships, individual health and the pleasurable things, priorities need to be reconsidered.  However, the privilege to attend a university such as ours and receive such an education should not be overlooked.  It is all about finding a balance of priorities that doesn’t lead to worshiping school.

Haley Williamson


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High speed rail fails to improve transportation

In an attempt to improve the quality of America’s infrastructure system, President Obama and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood worked together to promote the construction of high-speed rail systems around the country. Back in 2009, Obama announced that he has a “vision for high speed rail in America,” similar to the systems in Europe and Japan.

 According to a CNN report by Anderson Cooper on high-speed rail in America, the Obama administration has spent $12 billion thus far on building these trains. The large sum of money has produced 134 scattered projects, but has failed to create a unifying system across the country. One train route that the federal government focused on was the one between Seattle and Portland, which cost $800 million. Unfortunately, this $800 million seems to have gone to waste.

 The CNN report claims that the initial train ride from Seattle to Portland took three hours and 40 minutes. With the new “high-speed” trains, the route has only decreased by ten minutes. All of the other projects started by this initiative have seen similar results. This project is the epitome of government waste in spending: millions of dollars spent for the slightest improvement.

 Paula Hammond, former Secretary of Transportation in Washington state, defended the “improved” rail system to CNN reporters by saying, “Ten minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but, when you think about the fact that you have more options for more round trips, that you know that the train will come reliably and on time, that to us is what our passengers tell us is the most important thing.”

 While options for the trip and reliable transportation are all beneficial, they do not justify $800 million of taxpayer money. I would much rather have my tax dollars go to something that actually improves the productivity and welfare of society. Building a train that only improves a route by ten minutes accomplishes neither of those things. If they want to enhance the quality of train transportation, the government ought to work with the infrastructure in place and improve logistics.

 High-speed rail is not an effective or cost-efficient means of transportation. Contrary to popular belief, Amtrak trains are not all that energy efficient. According to Randal O’Toole, transportation scholar of the Cato Institute, Amtrak is powered by diesel fuel, so it emits a significant amount of pollution. Additionally, he claims, “The average car on the road today, in inner-city traffic, uses less energy per passenger mile.”  According to John Stossel, high-speed rail is five times more expensive than flying or driving. Another problem with the trains is that the routes are fixed. Thus, they cannot adjust to consumer demand like buses can and people will only have limited use for them.

Graphic Artist: Hayley Niehaus

While high-speed rail may seem like the technology of the future, in its current state, it is much too expensive and will do little to improve the quality of our transportation. For anything that costs millions of taxpayer dollars, we need to focus on what will be the most effective and high-speed rail is not the answer.

Lindsey Hubbart


Contact Lindsey Hubbart at

Media interaction with violence impacts society

The Boston Marathon.  A storied race with fierce competition and wonderful community integration in the heart of Boston, Mass.  However, this year the race was cut short April 15 as two explosives went off just after the four-hour mark in the competition.

In the chaos and confusion immediately following the tragic event, the news network coverage assumed its role in the process quite predictably, throwing facts at their audiences unrelentingly.  Some of those facts were correct and some were not.

Media demonstrated to us that a desire for viewership was and still is the primary goal of the ‘news business.’  That business, while also trying to report stories in a factual and ethical way, understands that viewers will tune in to whichever news source is essentially breaking the news first.

However, as the violent events of this past academic year are presented, it is important that we understand how that media coverage affects us and how it affects those who perpetrate these acts.  While news coverage in general can be a reliable source of information, it has a tendency to lose touch with the problem.  That problem is that  members of the media need to address the fact that their coverage can perpetuate violence.

As I walked into the HUB dining hall on Monday April 15, I was bombarded from the projector with information voiced by the talking heads on CNN.

It is important to note that breaking news to the public provides exactly the kind of publicity that perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown shooting, the Virginia Tech shooting and even the September 11 attacks want in the first place.

Psychology professor Mark Baird, who previously worked as a psychologist in the Army, drew comparisons from the situation to a sort of marketing campaign.

“You get free advertising right?  It’s one of the reasons why they do it,” Baird said.  “I would say that’s not mental illness, that that’s effective - sick - but effective [publicity].  The terrorists want to affect us through horrible acts for political gain.”

However, communications professor Gordon Jackson, who specializes in media ethics, said that while terrorism thrives on publicity, the media is for the most part doing just what it should be.

“The role of journalists is to tell the truth and to accurately portray what has happened, even when it’s awful news and even when it’s going to be news that may lend itself to copycat crimes,” Jackson said.

Also, Jackson said that, for journalists, telling the truth is part of doing the job well.

“The thing that we push in our journalism classes is for students to do good journalism,” Jackson said.  “According to the Society of Professional Journalism, good journalism telling the truth.  That’s one of the foundational things for journalists.  A second thing is that we minimize harm.”

Jackson elaborated, saying that by minimizing harm, he means it is a responsibility for journalists to promote facts that they believe to be true, but also which will avoid unnecessary harm to those who consume that information.  While telling the truth may be an irrefutable standard to have with media coverage, are we really trying to minimize harm in every aspect?

In instances of mass violence such as the Boston Marathon bombing, it is clear people are physically and mentally harmed.  Baird said media coverage perpetuates violence by extremists or mentally unstable individuals.  Can journalists rightfully say they are minimizing harm when people still die of terrorist attacks in the U.S. even after the 2,992 who perished in the September 11 attacks, as a result of terrorism that Jackson said, ‘thrives off of publicity?’  Terrorists at large whether they be domestic or internationally based, Islamic radicals or diagnosed with mental illnesses, have clearly taken advantage of a system that rewards violence with recognition.  This fact remains even though that recognition leads to infamy.

According to the The New York Daily News, investigators discovered among the Newtown shooter’s possessions, "a chilling spreadsheet 7 feet long and 4 feet wide that required a special printer, a document that contained the Newtown shooter’s obsessive, extensive research — in nine-point font — about mass murders of the past, and even attempted murders."  This followed an earlier report that said the Newtown shooter may have been motivated by a desire to outdo a Norwegian man who killed 77 people in July 2011, law enforcement sources told CBS Evening News.

Baird said that there tends to be an ‘us vs. them’ mentality.  People separate themselves, physically and symbolically, from the mentally ill.  This results in a need in the minds of those troubled people to act out.

Nevertheless, Jackson doesn’t see the media at fault in this, because the media is doing exactly what they are supposed to do when covering news.

“With the nature of news, news by definition is a break from the ordinary.  Normally the ordinary isn’t very interesting, and when a break happens, it’s often a bad [news] break,” Jackson said.

Jackson pointed out that journalists aren’t equipped to be psychotherapists, and that they can’t question motivation because they aren’t qualified to speak on it.

Despite the seemingly end-all nature of that argument, I would say that journalists should cover terrorism in a cautious and conscientious way.  A journalist should take into account evidence of past crimes similar to ones like the Boston Marathon bombing, in order to form a better understanding of what the perpetrator’s goal might have been.  In this way, a journalist doesn’t need to serve as a psychoanalyst and can just look at the information as it sits right in front of them to make a more educated and knowledgeable report.

Timeliness is always an issue for reporting, but it’s obvious that there is an incredible amount of information and analysis done in the psychiatric community which points to certain conclusions about possible motivations for these atrocities.  This not only saves time for journalists, but it also ensures that their reporting is sound and thoughtful.

While we cannot deny the public of its addictive 24 -hour news cycle, and although media coverage may to some extent perpetuate violence, the media can not afford, in terms of its role and purpose, to simply not tell you that things happen.  However,  we in the media and you as a consumer of it can afford to not see a picture or hear the name of a perpetrator of these crimes.  It will not become an issue of the public placing blame on someone else as a result of not knowing exactly who the perpetrator is.  Once people understand why they cannot know, I believe that they will be less willing to investigate things for themselves.  I retain that faith in the American public.

As you may have noticed thus far, I refused to include the names of those who have inflicted horrific atrocities in our country.  This is because they don’t deserve the fame we give them in the news, on television, internet or through our day-to-day conversations.  We need to spend more time focusing on the problem of media perpetuating violence rather than the outcome of people being killed by terrorist acts.  In this way, we can infallibly prevent that outcome.

Jackson said that he responds to those who critique media with the question, ‘what is the alternative that you can come up with?’  While I admit to being a critic of media in some cases, I find myself at odds with this question because I believe media should be the ones to answer it.  I believe that it is up to those such as Gordon Jackson and all the other significant members of the professional media community to address the fact that today’s coverage is a catalyst for violence.  To say that the news coverage we absorb every day is good enough is to deny the ability of news coverage to be better.  It is to deny that journalists can be better, and it is most undoubtedly denying that people can be better.

Connor Soudani

Guest Columnist

Contact Connor Soudani at

One must search for the light in darkness

As the year comes to end, many are feeling stressed about finals and preparations for going home. Others are  thinking that nothing is going right in their lives. Others are being confronted with issues that they have no control over and limited strength to handle. In times like these, students, and people in general, need to search within themselves and their surroundings for happiness.

Christians in particular must remember to turn to the Lord. The world is a dark and scary place full of hatred. In the media, there are constantly stories about terrorism, hate crimes, murders, starvation and an abundance of other terrible things. No one has a perfect life; no one is happy at all times. This world is fallen but with the Lord we can still stand in it.

Optimism is the Lord. God wouldn’t let someone’s entire life be full of pain. Even in the toughest times, God gives His people something that they can turn to for joy. For some, that is family. Others have art and some people have good friends. In all times, we have something we can be thankful for and grateful of.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Nothing in this world, or even in the underworld, has the strength or power to extinguish the light of the Lord; therefore, even when we feel struck down by everything in life, God’s light still burns bright within us. He will never abandon us or forget about us.

Sometimes we get caught up in all of our worldly problems that we forget about the great gift of a God who loves us and is always with us. At times when you feel pessimistic, turn to the eternal source of optimism.

As the old cliche goes, “every cloud has a

Graphics Artist: Molly Rupp

silver lining”. Even in the darkest of times, there are glimmers of happiness and joy. We just have to look for them.

Jasmine Barnes


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Times of tragedy spark national request for God to bless America

Last week, bombs went off at one of the most celebrated and iconic athletic competitions in our nation, leaving three innocent people dead and many injured. Several months ago, 20 elementary school children and six educators were shot on an average school day. More than eleven years ago, several planes were hijacked and flown into prestigious and recognized buildings; thousands of lives were lost in the act.When we read statements such as these, we get knots in our stomach. We cringe. We feel heavy. We crave meaning, depth and answers.

Facebook newsfeeds and public press releases alike explode with “prayers for...,” “God bless...,” “In God we trust...,” and with Bible verses referencing hope, healing and God’s protection. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Our culture elevates this clause. On the whole, the American people are very dedicated and loyal to the philosophy that individuals have the freedom to believe what they will, without the influence of government.

Whether it’s a Mormon on the election ticket, or the petition to change the definition of marriage, citizens get heated because we love our freedom of religion. Our mantra of ‘believe whatever you want, just don’t impose it on me’, is the crux of our tolerance gospel. And yet when crisis hits, it all goes out the window. We pray, read scripture and sing hymns along with our businesses, schools, media and political leaders.

Several will still protest any religious presence, and then some religious extremists will arise and call the entire atrocity the wrath of God. Looking at the middle of the spectrum, it is religion, spirituality and this idea of a good, divine power that actually works as a force of unity within the American people in crisis.

However, this response is more nationalistic than it is spiritual. It’s a call to a God who is clearly on our side. The God that America worships is draped in red, white and blue. We sing for him to bless us, forgetting that we’re already the wealthiest and most prosperous people that have ever lived. We pray earnestly when bombs go off in Boston and change the channel when it happens everyday in Gaza.

As a person who is both American and of Christian faith, I don’t disagree with calling on God in response to horrific events. The evil and the pain of the atrocities at hand cannot be belittled. We should hurt when we hear about innocent people dying at the will of another’s decision. As an American, I wholeheartedly support our lack of religious establishment and consider it essential to the American government and way of life.

No one needs to be expected to pray or practice faith in order to receive basic safety and rights. But as a devout believer, I do not think God should be kept on a shelf and pulled off when we need Him.

Christians are called to something higher than just asking for God’s favor when catastrophe hits American soil. Imagine a world where we prayed for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, in Asia, and in Africa with the same eagerness and hurt as we do during the comparatively-occasional emergency here at home. I think that is a convicting and challenging first step in what it really means to trust on God in the face of evil.

Sena Hughes


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Partisanship needed for strong democracy

  Graphic Artist: Hayley Niehaus


Our society is currently experiencing a rampant disenchantment with the two-party political system and a rapid adoption of the ‘independent’ label. Whenever I admit that I associate myself with a particular political party, I tend to get either a blank stare or a skeptical look. While I do not advocate blind allegiance to one party, I believe that there is a role for partisanship in a healthy democracy. Our country was founded by men coming together with strong ideas as to how to govern our country. The founders did not enter the Constitutional Convention with the goal of everyone becoming friends and being able to gloat about their ‘bipartisan’ efforts. They fought hard for their beliefs, almost to the point of the convention falling apart. Despite the bickering, and I would argue perhaps even because of it, they created one of the greatest documents in human history. Their disagreements forced them to face the issues head on and create compromises that satisfied all parties. Nancy Rosenblum, Harvard professor and author of “On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship,” said political parties have received negative reputation and we have placed undue value on independents. She claims that independents “are the least interested in politics, the most politically ignorant, the lightest voters.” Is this what we want out of our democracy? I would much rather see vigorous debate from both sides of the political spectrum, heavy engagement in the issues and interest in elections. Without these characteristics, which are most often seen among party-affiliated citizens, our democracy could fail. Democracies require engaged and committed citizens in order to survive. Of course, partisanship can become dangerous under certain circumstances. First of all, we need to be weary of the ‘my party, right or wrong’ mentality. There is no such thing as a perfect party. They all make mistakes. Thus, we must make honest evaluations of the party with which we affiliate ourselves and not blindly accept our party’s statements and positions. Critical thinking is key for maintaining a strong democracy, and we must not lose sight of that. Partisanship can also become dangerous when we let it trump aspects of our lives that are more important. Politics is one of my passions, but I am careful of never letting it damage relationships. This is not to say that we should not engage in debate with friends; rather, we should participate in respectful discussions and put the relationship above ideological differences. Despite the potential downfalls of partisanship, it still plays a critical role in our democratic republic. If we want to change our government and society for the better, we have to get involved. Joining a political party and standing up for our beliefs as a group, rather than falling into a state of indifference, is a great way of making necessary changes to improve society. With an engaged and passionate population consisting of differing political parties, we can confront the pressing issues we currently face and make a positive impact.

Lindsey Hubbart



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Romantic comedies hurt real-world relationships

Graphic Artist: Caleb Drechsel I love romantic comedies, but I also recognize how far they are from reality. They end well and the right girl always ends up with the right guy. Horror movies present the opposite. The people you like die or are put in grave danger as they are fraught with violent attacks. There is a common perception that horror movies negatively impact society. Studies have shown that horror movies can cause anxiety, bed-wetting and other stress responses in children and adults alike. According to the University of Michigan, movies have an effect on our hormone level. Children under five have the hardest time because they have trouble separating fantasy from reality. The same could be said for teens and young adults when it comes to romantic comedies. Studies have shown that seemingly harmless romantic comedies are warping views of relationships and marriage. According to Deseret News, although these movies are not intended to be realistic, their effects are real. According to Deseret News, “scholars of communication theorize that exposure to media like romantic comedies, especially for young people, can shape expectations about both romance and marriage, shifting adolescent perceptions about what love is like and how to show it.”

Most romantic comedies move at a much faster pace than actual relationships by focusing on immediacy. They quickly shift from “Hi my name is…” to “I love you”. These concepts impact viewers greatly because they can shape their views of marriage. The happy ending in these movies does not come from a long-lasting marriage, but from the wedding. Chicago Now calls this the “happily-ever-after-effect.” According to a 2009 study produced by Routledge Taylor & Francis Groups, “Films depict male characters as frequently performing exaggeratedly romantic gestures such as the scattered rose petals, and bouquets of roses. Female adolescents may be led to believe that such behaviors are the norm.”

Should I expect my significant other to chase after my taxi to profess his love like Matthew McConaughey in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”? This movie depicts that when he stops you from moving on with your life, you’ve found the one. Routledge Taylor & Francis Groups, who conducted this study, also reports that movies focus on the behaviors that make the relationship. This makes it seem that behaviors are the most important aspect, rather than factors such as communication and trust.

A study done in Australia polled 1,000 people and almost half said that “rom-coms, with their inevitable happy endings, have ruined their view of an ideal relationship.”

Horror movies are bad for kids because they can’t yet understand what is and is not real. For adults, it is easier to understand that the on-screen horror antics are not real, but accept those antics in the romantic comedy genre.

Whitney Carter


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Love languages enhance understanding of self and others

Years ago on a humid day, I was walking with my youth pastor at the time on a dirt road right outside of Beauchamp, Haiti. We began to talk about the importance of love languages.  There are five love languages: quality time, physical touch, gifts, acts of service and words of affirmation.  We concluded that out of the five, mine was definitely quality time.  The next thing he said completely altered the way I give and receive love.  He told me quality time wasn’t my only love language, but I also give and received words of affirmation as a sign of love, which completely took me by surprise.

Every individual has different ways of showing others how much they love, care and appreciate them, as well as the way that they need to be loved.  Knowing how to love someone, and how they can show love to you, is key for a healthy and rich relationship with anyone.  However, how someone may receive love may be the opposite of how they give love and some people also have multiple languages as well.

I think there are three primary reasons why knowing our love languages, and others’, is important.

If you understand your own love language, you will have a better understanding of why you do what you do.  You will have meaning behind why you love to give people your time, how a hug can turn any day around or even why you give so much importance and value to serving people and having others serve you in return.

When I had this conversation with my mentor, it was the first time I was able to see the effect of words in my life; he understood it, but I was blind to it.  He knew when days were rough he could speak affirming words to me, or give me a hand written letter and immediately my attitudes and thought processes would change.

Understanding not only how you give love, but also how you receive, is healthy in understanding who you are as an individual.

Then, knowing the language that someone receives love with will allow you to love them better.

Taking the time to understand how someone wants to be loved shows how much they mean to you and how much you want to invest in them.  If someone has a bad day, you notice they have the blues or you haven’t seen them in weeks, you will know how to show them you are thinking of them and that they are an significant part of your life.

Learning someone’s love language reflects your view of the value of the relationship.

Finally, it is important to understand how others show love in order to understand the weight and meaning behind their particular actions.

Just like how knowing your love language helps you understand yourself, it allows you to understand how someone else functions and what their actions mean.  You will be able to recognize patterns in their behavior and instead of treating it as a normal occurrence, become aware of the significance.  Someone wanting to spend time with you or constantly leaving you letters of encouragement in your room may mean more than just the surface level act.  Knowing someone’s love language makes you more aware of how to love them, but then it allows you to appreciate the love they are giving you much more when you are able to distinguish it.

Since that day my youth pastor told me quality time and words of affirmation were my love language, I have begun to understand myself more and recognize why I function in the ways I do.  With that, I have begun to realize that I need to figure out how to best love those around me as well.

With those reason, I challenge you to ask those you are closest with about their love languages, as well as learn about your own.

Haley Williamson


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'Bittersweet Life' balance essential for worthwhile time on earth

Life is supposed to be bittersweet. It can be compared to eating.  If you only eat sweets, you will eventually get sick, ruin your appetite and upset your stomach.When it comes to bitter food it takes some time to get over the bitterness, and once you do, it can become bearable. However, a healthy diet has to have both sweet and bitter foods. The same is true of life.  You can’t have a life that is only full of good moments and happy memories. It also can’t be only composed of times when you are bitter, sad or hurt. If we lived a life only composed of sweet things, it would get old and we would lose appreciation of the little things that bring joy.  We would also lose sight of what we are living for because nothing would have been fought for. If everything is always good, and you know it always will be good, how do you figure out what is worth fighting for?  What should you put your heart into or invest in if no matter what, it will work out for the best? Then turn the scenario around and imagine what life would be like with only the bitter?  It would be discouraging and difficult if everything led to pain and sorrow. The same questions would remain, what would be worth fighting for and pouring your all into if everything just turned out wrong? That is why we need a bittersweet life because it makes life worth living for. When life is hard, it makes us want to strive, grow and change. When hard times come, we know there will be a better day; we can put our hope in the fact that the bitterness won’t last forever. That notion that this bitterness won’t last forever gives people a reason to keep moving and living. Then, when life is good, we want to continually pursue that passion or feeling and see what else God has in store. These times of joy make the hard times bearable because we know what happiness and sweetness tastes like. When those times of sweetness come around, they are more likely to be appreciated and taken as a blessing and not just an everyday occurrence. We can’t live life only pursuing the good or only focusing on the bad.  Life is meant to be bittersweet, with the balance of God’s faithfulness and goodness.

Haley Williamson


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Community calls for additional assistance

As all students know, college is difficult. It is especially difficult to balance social life with classes while still getting the appropriate amount of sleep. Currently, I do not think Whitworth is making enough resources available for students to be successful. Some students, including myself, believe that we are on our own to figure out how to manage our lives. Although Whitworth has the Student Success Program, it’s exclusive to students who are on the verge of failing, currently failing or dealing with life issues. Academic advisors are mainly there to help with registration and class and future planning. The counseling center offers emotional support to students up to six free visits per year.

It is tough to find some resources on campus that can assist students with problems currently happening. I think that Whitworth should start, or at least let students know about, more programs that help with life management. For instance, Whitworth’s Career Services Center has many resources for students. Workshops for time management, study skills, note taking and even personality tests could be more accessible. Knowing about, and ultimately taking advantage of, these things would be incredibly beneficial to the student body and could increase student performance.

Until more things are made available, I decided to give a few tips to students from a book about college success titled “Your College Experience” by Gardener and Jeweler. First of all, design an exam plan. Exam plans include which chapters you study per day and how you are going to approach the test itself.

Always remember to sleep. Sleep is the most important part of your success in college and your ability to maintain your mental health. Take online quizzes to figure out your learning style and your personality in order to figure out the best way to approach your learning.

Keep in mind that grades are not everything. The purpose of college is to learn things that will help you with your future career. Next time you don’t get the grade you wanted on a test, focus on the fact that you still gained knowledge from that experience.

Don’t be scared to ask for help. Just because I do not believe that there are enough resources readily available at Whitworth, a little investigating can get you to the help you need.

Organization is also key to success. Always keep a planner. Write out your goals for the week, month, year, etc.. Always be taking notes during class. Even if it is something you find easy, writing it down will help you to stay focused and make the knowledge stick in your head. Then when it comes to test time, you can review your notes as a way of studying. Although I haven’t offered all the advice needed for success, I hope this helps students begin the process of becoming more successful.

Student success is all based on effort and determination. Anyone is capable of doing great things if they just put their mind to it.

Jasmine Barnes


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Image need not be ideal focal point of a woman

I was 4-years-old and it was an average day of preschool. My mom dropped me off in the morning, as was routine and my teacher greeted us outside. The first thing she did was comment to my mom on how beautiful I was. My mom’s response? “Yes, and she’s smart too.” That day my mother wasn’t trying to be an extremist and deny her young daughter the accolade of being called beautiful. Rather, she wanted to emphasize that my identity was not just in my physical appearance, but in my whole God-created self. She’s referenced that story again and again as my sisters and I have grown up to re-iterate the same message: yes, you are beautiful, but you are more than just your outer beauty.

Such a viewpoint feels awkward, or perhaps radical in culture today. It’s safe to attribute this to the enormous magnification of a female’s physical appearance instilled in our society. The National Institute on Media and the Family reports that more than half of 13-year-old girls are unsatisfied with their bodies. By age 17, that increases to 78 percent. These girls’ fears and insecurities are legitimate. Beauty and appearance matter in this culture; perhaps more than anything else.

The NIMF also indicates that one in three articles in leading magazines for teen girls focus on appearance, while 50 percent of advertisements targeted at them will appeal to beauty enhancement. That means the significant amount of time spent telling girls what it takes to be gorgeous and glamorous is not being spent empowering them to challenge themselves academically, dream big about their futures, take up new hobbies, create art and learn to love who they are as individuals.

Then we wonder why the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reports that approximately 90 percent of the more than 8,000,000 people in the U.S. struggling with an eating disorder are women. Is this an issue for females only? In short, no. Men are also bombarded with unnecessary pressure regarding appearance; though women still take the brunt of it. Fifty-six percent of television commercials aimed at a female audience will advertise a beauty product, compared to just 3 percent of those aimed at men. Not only is an unhealthy weight placed on the physical appearance of a woman, but it also continues to preach the message that women are to be judged by both men and women alike for their beauty.

Do not get me wrong, I believe it is absolutely necessary to tell our little girls and our grandmothers alike that they are stunning. It is natural to crave that compliment. But in an effort to empower women, the world needs to know that it is wrong when it comes down to beauty. Some people are tall, some people short, some thicker and some thinner. Some have darker skin, some have lighter skin, some have curly hair and others have hair that  is stick straight. Those are not the traits that define who we actually are.

When we look inside and see the intelligence, the creativity, the talent, and the heart of someone, we will see true, natural, God-given beauty. I believe that when we can begin to see everyone in that light, our world will begin to be just a little bit brighter.

Sena Hughes


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Government need not guide personal decisions

Personal responsibility is a primary American value, which means that we must make decisions for ourselves rather than relying on the government to step in and act as a parent. Thomas Jefferson expressed this idea when he wrote, “I predict the future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

 Recently, while pretending to take care of us, the government has become far too intrusive in our food choices. One example of this excessive regulation is Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to ban sodas more than 16 oz. in New York. Fortunately, the day before the law was scheduled to go into effect, the Manhattan Supreme Court struck this ban down, calling it “arbitrary and capricious.” Mayor Bloomberg defended his law by saying, “I’ve got to defend my children, and yours, and do what’s right to save lives. Obesity kills. There’s no question it kills.” Mayor Bloomberg is right, obesity does kill. But he is missing the point completely.  You are not a nanny, and you cannot tell the people of New York that they can have 16 oz. of soda but not 17 oz.

 I want to clarify that I do not endorse drinking soda. I have not had a soda in about seven years. However, if I decide that I want a soda, I ought to have the right to drink as much as I want without the government telling me it’s wrong. I do not think that anyone needs the government to say that drinking a soda is unhealthy. We have the right, and the personal responsibility, to make decisions for ourselves. Without the government telling me what to do, I chose to give up soda because I value my health. Similarly, anyone else can make that decision for him or herself.

 The government has also tried to mandate calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants, which have proven completely ineffective. A study completed by Yale University and New York University surveyed people dining at fast food restaurants in New York City before and after the calorie count law, as well as in Newark, NJ, which has no law about posting calories. The researchers found that “only about half of the fast-food customers in New York said they noticed all this helpful information, and only a quarter of the patrons in this group said it made any difference in their choices.” However, among those that said the calorie information affected their choice, the average consumption actually increased from an average of 823 to 846.

 Besides the ineffectiveness of this law, it is also an unnecessary burden on restaurants. First of all, it is very costly for restaurants to pay for lab work to test the caloric load of the meal, and then have their menus changed. It also decreases the flexibility of the chefs. Many do not use exact measurements of ingredients when preparing a meal, but will have to in order to maintain an accurate calorie count. Additionally, it will become more difficult to serve special dishes, since they will need to calculate and publish the calorie count each time they want to serve a new meal. As businesses in the free market, restaurants have the right to serve what they want and how they want it as long as they are not posing an immediate danger to the customer. One high calorie meal at a restaurant is not an immediate danger.

 Once again, we do not need the government impeding our personal decision-making abilities by telling us what is “good” to eat and what is not. We are perfectly capable of making these decisions on our own.

Lindsey Hubbart


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Whitworth fosters belief-finding

Like a lot of you, I went home for spring break. It was filled with sleeping in, watching movies, and not doing any of the homework I planned to do. It made for a very interesting Sunday night before classes started up again to say the least. My break also consisted of some interesting conversations with my family members.

I have found that it is hard to judge any changes, whether physical or moral, in myself while here at Whitworth. The changes have been so subtle that it is hard for my friends here, who have not known me for very long, or especially myself to notice them. However, when I go home it is totally different. My friends and family at home go for months without seeing me and seem to only see what is different about me.

All this to say, my views on some things have changed a lot over the course of this year. My views of hot-button topics, such as gay marriage, marijuana, or abortion have drastically changed over the course of the year.

At first I thought that this was just a problem for me, but when I started to talk to others, I found out that I was not alone. Sophomore Dalton Rowland says that he’s been confronted with issues that just weren’t discussed at home so it’s forced him to have an opinion; I would agree. I grew up believing what I believed because that is what my parents told me or because I believed the Bible said this was true. Whitworth has challenged me to figure out why I really believe what I do and how I can support those beliefs, whether spiritually or morally.

The conversations I had with my parents over break were eye-opening to me. There are a lot of things we still agreed on, but there were some that we didn’t and that was and still is difficult. It’s probably the first time that I have not believed in something the same way that my parents do. However, I am still assured of my beliefs.

Thanks to various classes and University programs, I’ve been reading things that challenge me, watching movies that make me think a little more, and having discussions that make me rethink my beliefs. Sometimes it gets uncomfortable, having these discussions or arguments with people I’ve only known for six months can be difficult. Missrepresentation challenged my taste in music. In my roundtable discussion on the second day I was here we discussed abortion and gay marriage. These people that I had known for less than 24 hours all believed differently than me, and it was just one thing that has allowed me to grow my beliefs in the time that I have been here.

Whitworth and, in my opinion, college in general allows you to change. For four years, you are allowed to move away from your life up to this point. You meet new people and, for me, it is the first time being around people that are not like-minded. They force me to change or at least reevaluate what I thought.

I am now more confident in the things that I believe because they are no longer just things that I believe because I am supposed to. I have developed my own beliefs that I can justify to myself and to others using scripture and experience, and that is good.

Whitney Carter


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Internships offer invaluable experience; payment is a plus

Internships have become an integral part of the college experience. They offer students an excellent opportunity to enter the workforce while still in school, thus allowing them exposure to different careers.The reality is that most internships  are unpaid. The most important aspect of an internship is experience.

Graphic Artist: Hayley Niehaus


Anya Kamenetz criticizes the unpaid internship model in a New York Times article titled “Take This Internship and Shove It.” She claims that the opportunity cost of an unpaid internship is too great, because students must pay for cost of living and give up the wages they could make in a paid position. She also claims that “unpaid internships are not jobs, only simulations.”


Thus, they do not prepare students well enough for real jobs, she says. In a later interview with John Stossel of Fox Business Network, she claims that businesses need to follow minimum wage laws when hiring interns. However, regardless of pay, internships greatly benefit the student. According to CNN, some of the major benefits include the chance to try out different careers, to network among future employers, bond with mentors and learn about the intricacies of daily life in the real world.


Further explaining the benefits of internships, Steve Cohen writes in the Wall Street Journal that “the most valuable purpose is exposure. Interns get to see the real work that real people do, and to see how disparate pieces come together to make an organization function.”

As students begin to think about careers of interest to them, this kind of exposure is incredibly valuable. Internships can also significantly enhance one’s resume. According to Melissa Benca, director of career services at Marymount Manhattan College, “internships have become key in today’s economy.” Employers want to see that students have relevant work experience, so they will certainly check to see if the student has completed an internship.

Since internships have


become so important, I believe that more businesses need to allow as many students as possible the opportunity to complete one. If we require all employers to pay their interns, they will offer fewer internships because many companies, particularly smaller ones, cannot afford to pay additional wages. Fewer opportunities would be detrimental to students.

Additionally, an essential aspect of the free market economy is the ability for two people to enter a contract. If an intern signs a contract to work for free, the government should not be allowed to prevent him or her from doing so. Interns are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether or not to take on an unpaid internship.

According to a study by, “72 percent of students consider compensation to be the least important factor when considering an internship.” Thus, students will likely choose to apply for and take on unpaid internships.

If they feel exploited by working for free, then they have every right to turn down the internship and either find a paid one or a job. In the words of John Stossel, “Butt out, federal bullies. Grown-ups can take care of ourselves.”


Contact Lindsey Hubbaryt at