Last week, Jessica Johnston wrote an article about weekends at ENC, and how the lack of events and activities for students on those days causes problems for our community. She argued that “our lack of events isn’t only a lack of entertainment, but it’s also a key factor in separating us as a community.”
Jessica, I agree. I am so glad to see that there are people speaking up about such an important issue. In my opinion, the discussion about weekend life at ENC is actually a part of an even broader conversation, one that should be taking place every day, weekend or not; what kind of student community do we want at ENC?
There are challenges to having a consistently vibrant weekend life on the ENC campus. It is very tempting for local students to just head home for a few days, in part because of the lack of activities, but also partly due to the allures of a home-cooked meal, or a night’s sleep in a familiar bed at home, or even the chance to study with a little more quiet. Someone who wants to plan a weekend event on campus may find this trend discouraging, because there is no guarantee that students will even attend a Friday night movie party, or a Saturday ultimate frisbee game, or a Sunday afternoon book club.
Regardless of the reasons why weekend life at ENC can sometimes be dull, the fact remains that we need to take action on this issue, and Jessica points to this in her article: “Ideas can only get us so far. It is up to us as students to turn these ideas into actual events.”
Crystal Erb, the president of executive SGA, has told me that SGA is willing to support students who take the initiative and start planning weekend events. Additionally, having students know about on-campus weekend events is key.
The issue of weekend life at ENC is really important to me personally. I’m from the Kansas City area, over 1400 miles away. I can’t just go home on the weekends.
A few weeks ago, a few students, myself included, decided to gather in the Underground at 11:30 p.m., and watch Bill Hader host “Saturday Night Live.” There were four of us, representing Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Brazil. None of us can afford to go home for just a weekend, but we can afford to eat chips, salsa and cookies together at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night. It may not have been extravagant or planned for weeks in advance, but it was meaningful community: the kind of community that I think Jessica and others want on campus at ENC.
Weekends at ENC don’t have to be a footnote of student life here. In many ways, they can be a time where we can focus on building relationships with each other, whether by reading together, singing together, or just watching “Saturday Night Live” in the Underground together.