How many credits do you have? Is this convocation cultural credit or just enrichment? These questions circulate our campus often, especially at this time of the year when the deadline for credits is quickly approaching. As I considered the discussion about whether or not credits should be required, my initial reaction was, no; we are adults and religious and cultural credits should be optional. However, my perspective changed when I began to look at it through the university’s point of view rather than an egocentric viewpoint.
Credits should be required because it allows students to be exposed to new ideas and fulfills the goals Southern Adventist University has constructed for its students.
Aristotle wrote: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
I think a lot of students believe that Southern is trying to “shove” religion down their throats. According to Southern’s institutional goals, requiring enrichment credits ensures that Southern will strive to “nurture campus learning communities that engage students with ideas that mark educated persons, global and multicultural perspectives, and advanced technology to develop both ethical principles and intellectual flexibility.”
Southern’s responsibility is not to ensure that students proclaim to be Christian, but to give them opportunities to have a relationship with God. The decision to be changed and inspired is solely dependent on the listener. With busy schedules, it is easy to become lackadaisical in our spiritual life. Requiring credits allows students that opportunity to refocus their relationship with God.
In relation to cultural credits, it ensures that we are aware of sociological changes and injustices that we are sometimes protected from as college students.
Nelson Mandela once said, “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.”
Education is not just about learning a specific trade or skill, but it also includes learning how one can better his or her society and nation.
Although it can sometimes feel like a burden, requiring credits allows students the opportunity to become well-rounded students and can be a catalyst for personal growth.