Seattle Pacific University is a Christian institution that preaches the love of God. Too bad we’re doing a terrible job of showing it.
Not every student at SPU is the same. Some of us believe in God, some of us don’t. Whatever our backgrounds, our beliefs, our religions, there is one thing we must all believe in this year — love.
I know it sounds cliche, like some bad closing line from a ‘90s rom com, but hear me out. If we keep love at the center this year, I know we can improve life for every student on our campus.
The past few years, the United States has been the poster child for hatred, whether that be towards BIPOC, AAPI, members of the LGBTQ+ community or anyone who does not fit society’s cookie cutter standards. The U.S. has been a breeding ground for political and moral polarization. Due to the growth of social media, information can be disseminated at the touch of a button; hate is spread with a few clicks on a keyboard.
Our school has not escaped this epidemic of hate. We may use Bible verses as decoration and require courses on Christianity, but we have not been showing the love of God to one another.
Our campus is not a safe place for many students. Just last year, freshman Freyja Bennet wrote an open letter about the lack of access for disabled students. Senior Bea Bouman wrote a letter about the mistreatment of Resident Advisors and student leaders at SPU. Our school was sued for discrimination. That does not sound like love to me.
I want this year to be better than the one before. I want this year to be better for students of color, queer students, immigrant students, conservative students, liberal students and everyone in between. But it cannot be better unless we all get better at showing love.
By love I do not mean tolerance. I do not mean a mutual agreement to ignore each other and stay in our safe little bubbles. I do not mean hating each other from afar and plastering smiles on our faces in close quarters.
We all can do small things to make our campus a better place to be. We can research differing opinions from our own. We can speak up when we see our classmates and coworkers being mistreated. We can listen to each other, without judgement and without prejudice.
I do not know the experience of every student at this university. I do not know what it is like to be discriminated against by the administration. I do not know what it is like to have my voice silenced because of who I am.
That is why as the student in charge of the opinions section this year I will work to create a conversation between every type of student at our university. I will make sure that voices are heard and stories are told, even if it makes us all a little uncomfortable.
That is how I will show love to my fellow students. Of course, we must not stop there. We should all do as much as we can to show love to one another, but it is not always easy. In a moment, if all you can do is listen, then that is enough.
For the betterment of our entire community for the years to come, remember to love. Do not tolerate. Do not ignore. Do not simply endure. Love.