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Build an inclusive campus

Last Thursday on March 13, the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a free doughnut event in the CoRE in order to provide a stress-free event and get some comments on the Student Government Association (SGA).

Well, I did not attend, but I do have some comments. For a large majority of this campus, last week was Holy Week, which is a special week for Christians leading up to Easter. The month of April, and spring in general is a time for celebrations of many faiths. Spring is universally a time of rebirth and renewal. Now, I cannot tell you much about Holy Week (besides what I Googled), but it ends on Easter Sunday. I’m not Christian, though I do hope all the Christian students here at Wooster had a great week.

I celebrated Passover last week. Passover (for those of you who do not know) is a week-long celebration commemorating the Jews’ flight from Egypt. During Passover, many Jews restrict themselves from eating Chametz (pronounced HA-meTZ), or leavened bread or baking. This is to commemorate the fact that when the Jews were fleeing Egypt they did not have time to allow their bread to rise after baking it; leaving them with the flat Matzah bread we have all come to know and tolerate during this time.

I love Passover, and Hillel threw a huge Passover Seder (the traditional meal supposed to accompany every night of Passover) last Tuesday. It was a lot of fun.

Which brings me to doughnuts. Don’t get me wrong, any other week of the year I would be 100 percent pro-doughnut. I understand that to abstain from Chametz is my choice, and I’m not calling for a campus wide bread ban during Passover. I also get that when I came here this was a Presbyterian affiliated school in a Christian town.

I love it here, and I don’t mind the minor things I have to deal with as a Jew to be here, like the pork that’s unlabeled in Lowry and the people who try to convert me in the supermarket.

I do not think anyone in SGA was plotting or trying to exclude Jewish students. I think this is just an example of the lack of awareness that plagues this campus. And I find there’s no small amount of irony that while SGA was trying to create an event for everyone, they excluded some people. Quite frankly, I think we can do better.

I’m not pushing for a situation where everyone’s needs will be accommodated at every single moment; I know that’s not always possible. All I’m asking for is that when holiday seasons roll around, somebody does a quick Google search.

As a member of the Hillel Board, I can say that if the SGA had just sent an email to Hillel saying “Hey, we know this falls on Passover but hope you could attend other events in the future,” I would be less annoyed.

I want to work to make this campus a more inclusive one for everyone, not just me. I totally understand that I am not the only person sometimes made to feel like an outsider here; I know that my fellow students of color, students from other countries and students from other non-Christian faiths are made to feel the same.

So, what are we going to do about it going forward? Well, an event like the SGA was trying to hold was a good start. The only way we can solve our own ignorance is to talk to each other and learn. In the future, we just need to make sure everyone can attend.

Mary McLoughlin, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at MMcLoughlin20@wooster.edu.

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