Group debates Sophia program mission statement
Alex Winegar | Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The Saint Mary’s student senate met Tuesday night to discuss the creation of a mission statement for the Sophia program and to hear updates from each of the different committees and boards on campus.
Co-president Madeline Martin began the meeting with a prayer before reviewing last week’s minutes and began with new business.
Shannon Schalk, chair of the Sophia board, addressed the absence of a mission statement for the Sophia program, which integrates general education into majors and minors according to the Saint Mary’s website. She said a mission statement would help students, especially incoming freshmen, understand the academic program.
Students would see the mission statement when Sophia is fully implemented and when there are mission statements for all three levels of the program, Schalk said.
“Our first introduction to Sophia is an 88-page booklet that they send us in the summer,” Schalk said. “There needs to be something better for the students and it has to be easy to understand.”
Schalk also said the statement is important because it will be used for advertising. Students and faculty nation-wide should be able to understand and appreciate the program after reading the statement.
The senate also discussed what the Sophia program is and in what ways it is unique to Saint Mary’s.
Freshman Kelly Vaughan shared her perspective and agreed there should be more description of the overall program and all three levels.
“I read [the booklet] all the way through and understood that you picked a class to fulfill a level but I knew I was having my advisor meeting coming up and I didn’t even know who she was or what the program was and it was very overwhelming,” Vaughan said. “The picture really threw me off.”
Chair of the Student Diversity Board, Carmen Cardenas, offered an update on the group’s upcoming activities.
“On Feb. 24 to 28 we are going to have Women’s Appreciation week,” Cardenas said. “It’s going to be tough because it’s the same week as Love Your Body week. March 8 is going to be International Women’s Day, so on March 5 we are going to have an international women’s film, which is probably going to be ‘Pray The Devil Back To Hell.’”
The film is about women in Liberia who come together in prayers to prevent war, Cardenas said. Their efforts were a significant part of bringing about a peace agreement that ended their country’s civil war.
“It is a great way to see faith in action and to see these women doing awesome,” Cardenas said. “What better film to support women’s mission and International Women’s Day?”