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Students Reflect on the Symposium on Inclusive Excellence
01.24.14 |
On a normal Monday, I don’t have class until 1 p.m. Therefore, I usually spend my time from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. spending quality time with my bed. However, I am glad that I woke up bright and early for the Symposium on Inclusive Excellence.

The first session that I attended was in the Miller Chapel sanctuary, and presented by Rev. Frank Schaefer. Schaefer has recently been in the national spotlight for performing the wedding of his gay son. The United Methodist Church, of which Schaefer was a member, ended up taking him to trial for violating the code of conduct for ministers. The result was that the reverend was defrocked--he could no longer practice as a reverend in the United Methodist community.

This presentation hit home the fact that people are still standing up for civil rights in Lebanon County in 2014. Sometimes we wear blinders and don’t realize the hate that is around us. In fact, Rev. Schaefer’s session was picketed. Picketers at LVC! All because a man performed the wedding for his son and the love of his son’s life.

I think that Rev. Schaefer’s presentation and the entire day opened many eyes to injustices that are happening around us every day. Moving forward, I see the LVC community becoming an even more accepting, and caring place. Gay, straight, black, or white, I think that the overwhelming attendance of the Symposium showed us that hate still exists, but at LVC we can respect the differences that make us unique.

Collin Straka is a senior economics major from Annville, Pa.

The session I was engaged in was called “The War Within” and the presenter was also the afternoon keynote speaker, Yewande Austin. She placed an emphasis on equality and being accepting of others. She also elaborated on what it means to be a leader when it comes to diversity and the importance of being a courageous follower.

She explained how imperative it is to create a community in which differences are embraced rather than segmented. She encouraged us to not be afraid to stand up for what we believe in and be the change not only this campus but the change the world needs to see.

This fight and cause runs way deeper than race, skin, and what the eye can encounter. It is not enough to be tolerant, we must be accepting and supportive of our peers. On Monday, January 20, 2014 I gained more hope for Lebanon Valley College. Nothing is impossible, and there are always going to be obstacles, but we can always overcome them.

Stephanie Agudelo is a sophomore criminal justice and psychology major from Philadelphia, Pa.

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