In a recent article, an open letter was written to Covenant College calling for a stronger awareness for the experiences and conditions students may experience when planning hall events. While I do agree with the idea that some themes and interactions could be a bit too invading for some, I do also believe that it is very hard to accommodate for the individual. I also believe some concerns, such as this situation, should be first turned to Student Development.
In my practicum placements for the elementary education program, I have begun to notice an increased awareness of allergies, such as peanuts, in cafeterias and classrooms. This awareness has been developed over time through the communication of students and their parents to school administrations.
As someone with a severe food allergy, I appreciate the level of awareness that many schools are expressing. During my time as a student, I did not see this level of awareness. It can definitely be a lifesaver!
Nonetheless, with a food allergy, I have had to learn to pick and choose what I participate in. This has been something I have learned over the years as a Covenant student. I have had to make sacrifices to choose whether or not I attend events, and have learned to ask about what is in each food. My allergy is something I have experienced my entire life, and though I do miss out on the camaraderie that events may provide, I do not know any better.
In my experiences with hall events, themes are shared to the resident director of the building. As a participant of Carter Christmas, we even had sections of our hall shut down during a preview because the Resident Director and Assistant Resident Director thought they were inappropriate for the audience.
There are traditionally halls that try to push boundaries and try to preserve secrecy, and it is not exclusive to Ghetto or any single hall. In most of my experiences with hall events, secrecy comes with the competitiveness that is experienced between individual halls. Each hall on campus embodies different characteristics and holds traditions, and with that, reputations are developed. Some of that comes with how hall events are managed and planned.
In the instances where there is concern for the potential for negative experiences, like viewers of South Park are advised before each episode, I think viewer discretion should be advised. While I sympathize with any student that has had negative experiences from events that are meant to be creative and fun, it is not entirely fair to place responsibility on the residents of a hall to cater to individual needs.
As a whole, the campus does care about their classmates, but though that care may not be in the physical form, that level of care is there in spirit. More times than not, food allergies, medical conditions, and other experiences that students may have had are simply not things that their classmates are aware of.
For many, these conditions students experience are personal. It takes a lot of courage to expose these personal details to the entire campus, but I think our responsibilities as students with concerns is to communicate them effectively. Resident directors, community coordinators, and the rest of the Student Development department at Covenant College are here for the students.
These individuals can help communicate and provide anonymity that may be required to communicate concerns to resident assistants, so that can be transmitted to their residents. Without specific awareness for conditions and ailments, it is hard for students and halls to effectively provide any warning.