I, like many other students, faculty, and community members, attended speaker Nadia Bolz-Weber’s event last Thursday as a requirement for my Religion 200 class. And I, like many others that evening, left her message in the Centrum feeling invigorated and full of energy.
I do not expect that what Bolz-Weber had to say over the course of her hour and a half with the Moorhead community resonated with everyone as much as it did with me, but I do think a lot of us who attended can come to an agreement that we were extremely lucky to hear such an eloquent and thought-provoking speaker. After her message, I continued to think about its contents on my walk back home and later into the evening. I debriefed with a lot of my friends and fellow classmates about what we had just heard because it really stuck with me.
This is not the first time that I have left a speaker’s event pondering and thinking about the topic of their message. The same thing happened last year when Concordia’s campus was fortunate enough to have prevalent civil rights activist Sean King come to campus, and more recently when congressman John Lewis came to talk about the construction of his book “March” earlier this October.
Concordia does an amazing job of bringing outside speakers to our campus. Every year, experts on a variety of topics from all over the country to Concordia to spread their message to students and the greater Fargo/Moorhead community. These are great opportunities for students, who get to go to these events for free.
A lot of times professors will require their students to attend these events or offer an extra-credit option, like my religion professor required her students to see Nadia Bolz-Weber. Often times I hear students grumble about having to attend outside events. I get it, sometimes having another thing to attend can be tricky to work into our unceasingly busy schedules, but these outside speakers are so important. Not only are they important to enrich and enhance what we are learning inside the classroom, but they also provide us with the opportunity to listen to someone who has no relationship to Concordia. Bringing in outside perspectives helps us grow as students and fellow human beings.
Another reason these speakers are so important is it brings the community we live in directly to campus. Events for outside speakers are often open to the public, especially if it is someone particularly high profile. For example, at Nadia Bolz-Weber’s talk, I sat next to an older couple from the Fargo/Moorhead community. They were both very enthusiastic about the message and were excited to hear what she had to say. The fact that Concordia gets to provide a space for the outer community to learn and grow is such a cool part of attending this institution.
As Concordia students, we are fortunate enough to attend these events free of charge. Outside of the college world these events will no longer be such a cheap option. A lot of people pay a lot of money to see people like John Lewis, Sean King or Nadia Bolz-Weber. We are so fortunate to go to a place where these events are available to us. Take advantage of them. Not just because you are required to go, but because they can be extremely enriching and thought-provoking experiences that just might surprise you.
Sonja is a sophomore double majoring in Global Studies and English Writing. Aside from writing, she enjoys singing in the Concordia Chapel Choir and spending time with her two golden retrievers. This is her first year writing for the Concordian and she hopes to continue in the years to come!