Why BREWing means more than just studying abroad
As individuals we can make a difference. Our daily decisions and actions mold our thinking and responses to situations and scenarios. Passions and interests drive us to become actively engaged, while our classes and involvement help us strive to influence the affairs of the world. BREW, a concept involved in almost everything on campus, is a model we learn to live by.
Instilled in our being, students are wired to become responsible stewards of the world. The problem with BREW is that most people think one needs to go abroad in order to fulfill the mission of the college. That is a misinterpretation we need to fix.
Something we need to face is that most of us are not going to become active in the global affairs of the world, and some of us will never go abroad in our lifetime. We will move to a small town or roaring urban city and invest our time working in order to pay off student loans and start families.
This, however, does not mean the core BREW morals will not be transferable to our own communities or backyards with reference to global issues. We can inspire change on a small scale in hopes that one day it will broaden to a larger demographic.
Now, I am not discouraging studying abroad; I see the value in it but disagree highly with that it should be the main outlet for student BREWing. There is more to the concept of BREW. When trying to inspire change one should think about how it affects our earth as a whole. Research and communication should be addressed as informative to the general public. I realize that a total culture shock is impossible within the United States. We have ample amount of resources and rights other countries do not. Is becoming knowledgeable about a topic enough, or can one only realize and educate others by having them experience it globally on their own?
Personally, I would love to go abroad in order to experience some of the world issues hands-on, but unfortunately for me, it simply has not proven a realistic option. I do, however, have access to global learning through classes offered at Concordia. Becoming responsibly engaged is not limited to studying abroad. Our courses, too, challenge us to think critically about global affairs.
From my point of view, change in perspectives and behaviors needs to happen within oneself first. By leading with your own actions, others will over time take notice and start acting too. You do not need a title or to be the head of something in order to make an impact. If you see an issue and want to address it, you can, even if not everyone will stand behind you or is willing to help. It may take a lot of effort, but with a passion or drive, change is possible.
Sure, it is helpful to have connections, but they can be made along the way. The truth is, our voices matter and deserve to be heard. Never let someone silence you; keep on persevering. You will make a difference. The first step is realizing you can.
Especially on campus do student voices matter. We tend to think administration tunes out the student body, but the truth is we are the lifeblood of this institution. BREWing, however, should extend off campus and include the community at large. As much as we like to focus on campus initiatives and improve our campus community, we need to expand and stop supporting the bubble that encompasses campus.
Informing campus might be a great place to start, but a community action should be organized soon after to spark the chain of revolution. Our efforts have greater impact than we often realize. Becoming engaged is a way of life. It is the Concordia way.
Kelly T. Knutson 15′ is an opinion columnist for the Concordia who focuses on environmental awareness / concerns in his entries. Originally from the upland prairies of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Kelly recently transplanted to Bemidji where he calls the conifer forests of Minnesota his home. Being ecologically literate and knowing his roots comes at high importance to Kelly. In his spare time he enjoys being immersed as well as fascinated by nature through hiking, birdwatching, mushroom foraging, camping etc. At Concordia he is involved with Sea – Student Environmental Alliance, Concordia Chapel Choir, Eco-Reps as the Coordinator, 2014 Sustainability Symposium planning committee, coordinating the 2014 HILT High Impact Leadership Trip for spring break, and a Lab TA for the Biology department.