Burning Questions: What is the greatest challenge Mac is facing?

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We’ve been asking student organizations what they think Macalester’s greatest challenge is. We want to hear (and ask) your questions too. We welcome your submissions at [email protected]
One of the challenges facing this school is transforming conversations about social justice into action. By increasing student initiative and participation in service, we can collectively begin to “pop” the Macalester bubble and get more involved in the area. Many students come to college having been involved in various service projects and activities in their own communities during high school. Once in college, that commitment needs to continue. Participating is easy – the CEC and other Macalester programs offer countless ways to get involved with minimal commitment required. As one of the four pillars of this institution, service is elevated as an important part of this community. Ultimately though, it is the students who must make the step from talking about problems to active engagement. Commitment to service should extend beyond passing conversations in the classroom to concrete action.

Macalester Jewish Organization
It is no secret that Macalester students are often characterized as hostile toward organized religion. As Macalester’s Jewish presence on campus, MJO seeks to provide a community for students from all kinds of Jewish backgrounds. Because a major part of community building focuses on religious, spiritual, and sometimes cultural traditions, much of our programming involves prayer and age-old traditions. Although it is tempting to pass off some of Judaism’s tenets as antiquated or insignificant, it is important to recognize that exploring our history and tradition is not unrelated to the work we do as students. Consequently, one of the important challenges facing Macalester students is understanding that critical reflection and religious tradition are not mutually exclusive. Questioning our practices and beliefs is as important as adhering to them, and instead of dismissing religion completely, we should concentrate on utilizing religion and our exploration of faith to promote tolerance and social justice.

Queer Union
The Queer Union appreciates the exceptional work of Macalester students and faculty to create a safe and self-affirming space for LGBTQ people on campus, and that our school deserves the recognition given to it by the Princeton Review. Nevertheless, we must continue to educate ourselves about ways in which LGBTQ people are marginalized on campus. Macalester cannot afford to sit on its heels now that we’ve been named a gay-friendly school; it’s important that we check the pulse of the Mac student body and have dialogue about new and on-going LGBTQ issues, such as genderblind bathrooms and housing, rather than dismiss them as inconsequential.