Volume 97 Issue 3 Oped

Strengthening our campus community

by Connor Dimond

At Juniata we focus heavily on strengthening our campus community. We have events such as Mountain Day, Liberal Arts Symposium and Lobsterfest to bring students and faculty together, and we constantly seek out opportunities to help and grow together whenever possible.

This great appreciation of community that Juniata presents has slowly begun to integrate itself into the Huntingdon Community. It has become apparent that this year Juniata has been very active in spreading its idea of community beyond the boundaries of campus. This step is very important in adhering to our campus motto “Think, Evolve, Act.”

As part of the required freshman CWS lab, students are required to participate in a community event, whether it be picking up trash or helping out at the local food pantry. This is a new idea that has been introduced into the CWS curriculum as of 2015. This new requirement is great because it gets first-year students involved in the local Huntingdon community and encourages them to begin practicing Juniata’s motto.

Sadly, students of sophomore standing and up have not been able to take part in this new practice. This is more than half of the student population, and while it may be seen as somewhat problematic in strengthening students’ relationship with the Huntingdon community, at least the initiative has been set with this school year.

A new Facebook page has been created this year called “Downtown Huntingdon Opportunities” with the intent of encouraging Juniata students to visit local businesses and producing a better understanding of the opportunities that exist within Huntingdon. I often hear students complain about the lack of things there are to do here in Huntingdon. Hopefully this new page will inspire students to “Think, Evolve, Act” and utilize the resources provided to them in order to explore the town of Huntingdon.

This page has come at just the right time because it reaches out to all students who are not able to participate in the CWS lab. The students who are part of the sophomore class and above can find stores to explore and local businesses to support through this page. The only catch is that it is up to the student to take advantage of these resources and be on the lookout for things to do.

There are many things to do in Huntingdon if you keep your eyes open and do a little research. Some events are even hosted right here on campus, and they focus on uniting students and the community.

This year our campus hosted its first ever Pride Fest, which could be enjoyed by both Juniata students and the Huntingdon community. It is great that our campus hosts such events in order to shed light on politically divided topics while making sure that the events are hosted with people’s beliefs in mind. It is important that when an event such as this is going on, that may conflict with certain beliefs, that Juniata takes action to provide a safe environment for the participants.

Pride Fest tackled this problem in the best way possible. Instead of hosting the event downtown it was hosted on campus to provide a safe environment for all participants without upsetting community members who did not want to participate. Members of the community were more than welcome to come and share in the celebration and education process, and those not wishing to partake were not pressured at all.

Being part of the Juniata community means expanding our idea of community beyond our campus. It is important that we take part in local events and take care of the community that each and every one of us has decided to live in.

By supporting local businesses, volunteering and going to events in town we not only experience Huntingdon in a different light but also help it grow to become a better-knit community. As always, it is up to us as Juniata students to “Think” about what we can do to better our community and ourselves, “Evolve” by changing our mindset to understand that everyone is different and that we are part of what makes the Huntingdon community and “Act” by becoming more involved in our community and helping others no matter what differences we may have.

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