Art by Ally Armstrong
One of the most distinct ways that Pepperdine upholds its Church of Christ roots is through the Convocation requirement. According to Pepperdine’s website, Convo is intended “to help Pepperdine students build Christian faith, affirm Christian values, and address the moral and ethical dimensions of current issues.”
However, for some, Convocation is tedious at best and insufferable at worst. As a result, speakers often see a wall of laptops and iPhones when they enter Firestone Fieldhouse.
Students should adopt a respectful and positive outlook toward Convocation in order to truly benefit from the requirement, and this mindset is facilitated by creativity and curiosity.
Students commonly attend Wednesday Chapel, but there are several other opportunities for students to acquire Convo credit. When intentional about planning and seeking ways to diversify their Convocation credits, students will begin to look forward to receiving them.
Students can seek out a faculty or staff member to mentor them for Convocation credit. The Spiritual Mentoring Program enables students to forge meaningful relationships with adults on campus and to learn from their wisdom.
Finding a mentor has positive effects even outside of spiritual life. Mentors help students “determine who they want to become, how they must change in order to become these people, and how they can take advantage of their college or work experiences to bring about these changes,” according to Heather Stringer’s article “The life-changing power of mentors,” published by the American Psychological Association in June 2016.
Students should also take advantage of club Convocation opportunities, especially within their dorms. They provide a chance to make friends and to delve into more specific topics. Club Convo offerings are expansive, often centering on ethical or social justice issues. These small groups foster deep discussion and close community, according to the website.
The topics presented at Convocation have the potential to prompt meaningful conversations between students. These conversations strengthen and facilitate friendships.
Talking about subjects such as faith, ethics and morality serves to enrich relationships according to Jenn Granneman’s article “Why We Need to Have Deeper Conversations,” published June 20, 2017 by Psychology Today. With this in mind, students can approach Convocation as an opportunity to enter into meaningful dialogue, even after the event is over.
It is important for all students, even those without a faith of their own, to have a deeper understanding of religion. Many Convocation events are opportunities to hear and engage in interfaith dialogue.
Considering 84 percent of the world’s population identifies with a religious group, religion is inseparable from students’ roles as global citizens, according to Harriet Sherwood’s article “Why faith is becoming more and more popular,” published by the Guardian on Aug. 27. In light of this, it is clear that Convo promotes more than just spiritual growth; it also promotes civic awareness.
When students are both curious and creative about getting Convo credit, it becomes a more pleasant and beneficial experience. Regardless of one’s outlook toward Convocation, students should give speakers the simple courtesy of their attention.
Follow the Pepperdine Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic