Photo by Marisa Jackels. Leah Hoblit, the commissioner for BREW week, sits at her booth in the Atrium. Hoblit said this years' theme focuses on campus issues.

It doesn’t take long for Cobbers to become acquainted with the term BREW. Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World is one of the most prominent callings that Concordia instills into its students, and multiple student organizations have turned the week of Nov. 14-18 into just that.

Making only its second debut on the Concordia College campus, the concept of BREW week is a fairly new idea.  Leah Hoblit, the 2011 commissioner for BREW week, explained how the idea stemmed from the Homeless and Hungry week which was originally held during this time. Last year, Campus Service Commission leaders senior Joe Marion and Brooke Degerman, a 2011 graduate, put their heads together to create a week that expanded the idea of service to incorporate the message of BREW.

“We made a smaller to bigger model,” said Hoblit, who was also part of the CSC team last year,  “which talked about how we can involve ourselves in the Cobber community, the F-M community, national and then global.”

This year, however, the week will focus more on campus related issues.

“I think it’s easier for students to relate to it that way,” Hoblit said. “Even if it is at our home, you can still apply that to a global level.”

One way that this idea is being implemented is through the sexual assault awareness events on Wednesday, regarding an issue that Interim Dean of Students Bruce Vieweg sees as crucially relevant not only locally but globally as well. He shared his enthusiasm for Wednesday’s events, hoping that it would decrease the number of students who remain unaware of the sexual misconduct policy.

“These are all steps to bring us to a place of better awareness,” he said. “One whole day of a week for conversation focused on sexual misconduct – by golly, that is fabulous.”

Following the theme of BREWing through Concordia, the week began with a forum hosted by Student Government Association and Minnesota Campus Compact, which focused on how to become a civically engaged campus.

It continued on Tuesday with a tribute to National Homeless and Hungry week through a Concordia Echo Band concert directed by Scott Jones in conjunction with the F-M Coalition for Homeless Persons.

Jones, who has been directing the Echo Band since 2009, explained how it has been one of his goals to develop an identity for the ensemble that involves serving the community.

“The thought crossed our mind: what if our concerts were not only like a traditional concert, but also served as a way to heighten awareness of either a social issue or an issue on campus?” Jones said.

He explained that the goal for the band now is “to find a way to bring an audience to a concert and leave satisfied musically but also thinking a little bit as human beings on how to become more engaged.”

All semester, the band has had the opportunity to read “Under the Overpass,” a documentary by Mike Yankosi about his experience living homeless, and the last half hour of their rehearsals have been engaged in student-lead discussion focusing on the issue of homelessness. Coordinating plans with Hoblit to perform during BREW week in collaboration with the Coalition for Homeless Persons proved to be the perfect venue for the band to translate BREW into action, Jones said.

“It’s the kind of thing that I hope students will take with them as they leave Concordia,” he said. “More importantly, that they leave aware of what they can do and how they can be of help.”

After the concert, copies of “Under the Overpass” were available for students to pick up with the promise that they will pass it on when they are done reading.  In addition, Cobber-made bowls from the Empty Bowls Campaign were sold for $10 each, with all proceeds going to the coalition.

On Wednesday, student-designed shirts hung on clotheslines in the Atrium windows, each depicting individuals’ experiences with domestic violence.  That night students had the opportunity to view the movie “Speak,” a story of a student’s struggle with sexual assault and afterwards dialogue with the producer of the film, Matthew Myers.

Student Environmental Alliance leaders Nathaniel Cook and Shane Sessions are leading a session on Thursday night, demonstrating how to go green for the winter without going broke, followed by Campus Entertainment Commission’s trivia night which will educate students on the facts necessary to BREW.

For students who missed any of the events, Friday will serve as a day of reflection through a large mural decorating the atrium in which students, faculty and community can post thoughts about their experience with BREW week.

To conclude the week, on Saturday evening Campus Ministry Commission is hosting a Social Justice Hunger Banquet, where students will arrive and be assigned to a social class which will then determine their meal.  Emily Kimball, a co-leader with the Social Justice campaign, explained how such a banquet brings awareness to food disparity in a very real way.

“About four people will get really good food, but the majority will get a bowl of rice to eat with their hands,” she said.

Photo by Marisa Jackels. BREW week commissioner Leah Hoblit poses with the BREW week schedule.

The hope for this banquet is to bring a new perspective on social justice and call for self reflection on how Cobbers can serve, Kimball said.

From the banquet to the band concert, establishing such a diverse lineup of events was a process that has been in the works since May, according to Hoblit.  It began with yards of butcher paper covered with ideas.

“It’s interesting to see what Cobbers are interested in,” Hoblit said, of the many proposals which CSC interns had scribbled across these papers. “We had everything from the elections to trafficking to sustainability.”

The next step was to filter these ideas by having each intern choose their top three, and then decide which ideas were the most feasible.  The result was a collaboration of different individuals and organizations, each with a project, and each dedicated to making BREW a reality.

Hoblit expressed how thankful she is for the amount of work from all the student organizations and faculty that went in to making this week possible.

“This week will be the test of all the hard work,” she said.  “It’s fulfilling for me knowing that the work that we put into this is really helping the community.”

Her main goal for BREW week is that Cobbers will realize they can make an impact, even in bigger issues.

“The basic thing I hope, is that they learn,” she said.  “That’s kinda what BREW-ing ultimately comes down to.”

Marisa Jackels

Class of 2013 English-Writing Major Communications Minor Contributing Writer- PULSE Interests: Travel, Cooking French recipes, Chocolate, and writing about what people don't notice.

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