Programmatic Spring Cleaning
Earlier in April we held our first annual Interfaith Spring Prayer. The evening focused on the new life of spring and how each of our faith traditions approaches this time of year. As I sat and listened to the prayers and the responses from students, I realized the personal renewal that I had to go through and the “spring cleaning” I had to do for myself.
The week following our Interfaith Spring Prayer, I had three other nightly commitments that left me at work well into the evening and without time for further reflection. Some of these commitments were interfaith- related programs run by students I advise, while others were simply personal or professional commitments. As I sat in my office at the end of the week, pretty exhausted, I started to wonder how I could strengthen my abilities by lessening my involvement in some programs and, in doing so, make other programs stronger. This idea was a radical change from my way of thinking (and in many ways, the Western culture in which I was raised), where more is better and the more you can accomplish, better still!
Connected to this personal revelation, I thought about students who are presented with multiple evening options. They have to navigate time for their homework, favorite hobbies, TV shows, and internet surfing while also deciding on which evening program/social/activity to attend. By giving them so many options, are we helping them or hindering their ability to dig deeper into their personal reflections and journeys?
As I come upon the close of my first year here at Loyola University Chicago, this question will continue to help shape my thinking. Much like the spring season brings about our need to clean up our houses and open windows and let in fresh air, it is helpful to think about how we can clean up our programs and make them deeper, stronger experiences for the students who attend them.
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