In life, especially on a college campus, students frequently encounter people who have viewpoints that differ from their own. For some people, it may be a challenge to stay true to themselves while still being respectfully engaged in the interests of others.
This week, ETSU SGA sponsored Civility Week 2016, with this year’s theme being “Dare to Care.”
The goal of Civility Week as stated on the website is to “provide individuals at ETSU exposure to and understanding of cultures, customs, beliefs and general ways of life that may be different from their own. In addition, the title aims to promote education and awareness emphasizing that diversity should empower justice and peace over conflict, that individual uniqueness should be embraced and celebrated as much as community unity, that diverse perspectives, projects and actions can get committed, connected and converged into a common ground of understanding.”
Each day has been full of events to appeal to each student on campus. Nathan Farnor, a member of the Civility Week planning committee, explained that those working on the committee all have a common goal in mind.
“Despite the different views, the different people, the different backgrounds, you can still have conversations and learn more about these very controversial things in a civil way,” Farnor said. “You can talk and have discussions, still be respectful, love one another and be kind and grow along the way.”
Wednesday night, “Mythbusters: Religious Edition” took place. Mahon Mahmodian, who hosted the event with Diversity Educators, said the motivation for hosting an event like this one stems from the fact that “people don’t have a really good sense of the different types of religions, at least not from reliable sources. We are bringing people from the philosophy department, people who are skilled and scholarly and people who have spent their entire life and education on religion.”
Mahmodian explained that the event’s aim is to debunk not only myths about common religions, but also myths about religions that are less well-known to the general public, such as Native American religions.
Some other events that have occurred throughout the week include a wellness fair, a movie screening, a privilege walk and various lectures. There are still full days of events to come, with items remaining on the agenda such as the Newt Gingrich lecture on Thursday night and the Corazon Latino festival on Friday. A 5K is scheduled for Saturday, as well.
Overall, the general feel of Civility Week has been very supportive — no matter who you are or where you’re coming from, Civility Week aims to reach you and advocate for things that are important to you. Helping people learn about things that are deeply rooted in personal beliefs can show us all ways to cooperate and obtain common goals.