Monday, October 15, 2012

4 years later…

In October of 2008, I was just beginning my first full year of ministry as Campus Chaplain at UC Davis.  And we were in the home stretch of the election.  It seemed as if politics were everywhere on campus.  The various campaigns were represented on campus each day, political signs, t-shirts, bumper stickers were pervasive.  We even had a “No on Prop 8” sign in front of the Belfry (which was stolen, and brought at least one angry person inside questioning how a Christian ministry could be in favor of same sex marriage).  Students gathered in the Belfry living room to watch the debates together, which turned out to be a natural community builder.  The twists and turns of the election were common post-worship dinner fodder, and I was impressed at how the students could discuss these serious issues in a serious but meaningful way, without alienating each other.

Now, in October of 2012, the fact that it is an election year is mostly strangely absent from campus.  Certainly there are pockets of interest, especially in certain statewide propositions.  But the general interest level in things like the presidential debates is relatively low.  Bill Clinton spoke at a rally on campus last week, and that was one of the few big signs of this being an election year I’ve seen thus far.  Thousands of people gathered on the quad to hear Clinton, but it’s hard to know if they were there for the political rally or to hear a former president speak in person.

It’s really strange.  When asked, students express interest in the election, but it doesn’t seem to be on their minds, bodies, backpacks, etc., the way it was in 2008.  Which makes me wonder, what is it like this year on your campus?  Are students engaged in the election the way they were in 2008 or is this year different?  And why is that?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

5 Trends You Should Know About To Be A Better Chaplain

As the new school year has begun and the academic church year is on its way I thought it would be a great time to catch you up on a few trends sweeping the undergraduate community.  You might think these trends are irrelevant and meaningless to doing ministry on campus, but as you might know, context isn't everything, it's the only thing.

If you are interested in last year's trends CLICK HERE!

5. Pinterest 

Pinterest isn't exactly new, but it's certainly feels new.  No status updates, quizzes  or silly games taking up your timeline on Pinterest, it's just a collection of what people like!  It has taken social media and made it beautiful.  The collage of images and ideas enhances the internet experience, and undergrads are all over it!

4. Mumford and Sons 

Mumford and Sons isn't just a blip on the radar.  It's seriously good music and students know it!  It may not be on everyone's iPod, but it's certainly a better representation of music than, let's say, LMFAO.  

3. Riding Boots are the New Uggs

I'm not fashion expert, but the days of sweat pants and Uggs have been replaced by tights and riding boots.  Young women all over campus are asking their moms and dads to head out to the barn to dust off those Ariat English Riding Boots and to send them to campus in a care package ASAP! And I don't blame them.  They are very classy and simple and they surely look better than the oh so tired combo of Uggs and sweats.      

2. Memes

The Urban Dictionary defines a meme as "an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media)."  Basically it's taking something that is relevant (iPhone 5 maps disaster as pictured on Columbus Day) and spicing it up with a little snark.  Memes can be fun, often funny, but unfortunately they (like so many other things on the internet) can be predictable and boring.  But their still hot and I'd imagine that they will continue to stay hot.  

1. Gangnam Style

I don't even know how to describe this.  And I'm not really sure if it's even appropriate to acknowledge that it exists.  But it does and everyone knows about it, so you should too!