Not Another Divest-Fest Article
At this point, you are probably sick of hearing about Divest-Fest and why you should care about the issue because we were, too. However, we decided to approach the problem in a very different way. As a part of the course Religion and Ecology, taught by Deborah Goodwin, we decided to see what beliefs Gusties actually held on this issue. We met with various religious and non-religious groups on campus to see what their different worldviews had to say about Divest-Fest.
And here’s what we got:
“As humans, our role is to take care of nature so that in turn take care of us.”
“God wants us to take care of the world so it makes sense not to support destructive habits.”
“We consider nature to be an important aspect of our spiritual journey.”
“We are part of nature and therefore we must protect it.”
“Nothing belongs to us, so we must treat all of nature with respect.”
We didn’t state the source of the comments above because no one person interviewed represents their entire worldview. No matter what you believe, we hope that you will take time to consider how these ideas may be applied to your own worldview.
-Laura Briggs, Lukas Hanson, Lizzy Schutz, and Jordan Sorensen
In response to Suicide Awareness Week:
Last week a sorority tabled outside the cafeteria, giving out yellow greeting cards with a smiling face on the front and the following text printed on the inside: ”Don’t forget to SMILE today!” While the being or not being of suicide prevention activism is not our concern here, the message in the greeting card is highly inappropriate. Individuals targeted through this activity, quite a few according to statistics, might easily feel offended and, in the mind of the depressed, develop further experiences of distrust and despair.
Suicide is serious business, and according to one of the folders that were given out, 90 percent of people who die by suicide have depression, other mental disorders or a substance-abuse disorder in many cases these last for years. A smile might make someone’s day slightly better, but to ask the suicidal to ’smile today!’ – cheerfully with an attached exclamation mark – is beyond opportunism, it is naïve.
Furthermore, the short message of ”Don’t forget to smile today!” contains two more controversial implications. One is that it is possible to force a smile that will lead to genuine improvement of emotional state, the other is that the problem does not lie within the suicidal’s cognition and/or brain chemistry, life background or present circumstances, but with the person’s capacity to remember. Loss of memory and disorientation are two signs of mental illness, but they are not generally of the kind of which you check the box every night before you go to sleep, if you go to sleep.
Writing this we have in mind all of those who joined us in this experience of Suicide Awareness Week, and all of those who are ready to reevaluate the temptation of giving advice too simple for a mental health condition far more complicated.
Ai Motomura & Anne Astrom