Letter to the Editor - Jean Etienne

While reading the last issue of the Clocktower, I found several interesting articles. There was an issue about the constitutional gun law, how to stay fashionable in a collegiate environment, and even one about a famous hedgehog. What most caught my attention, however, was the last article. Having a subtitle of “Fire and Brimstone”, this article discussed what the author perceived to be evidence of ungodliness on Union College.

Much like the author, I too graduated from a public, secular high school. I knew that I wanted to go to an Adventist school because I wanted to be in a place where I’d be surrounded by other Seventh-Day-Adventist Christians. Of all colleges run by the church, I chose Union College because I noticed that most divisions have a pragmatic approach to education. Whether it’s the mentorship program in BCS or the IRR Summer Program, Union College consistently strives for academic excellence that’s relevant to the real world.

Not only this, but unlike other SDA colleges, worship isn’t approached as a simple requirement, but students are given ample options to complete goals that aren’t tied down by fines or patronizing e-mails. When I came to Union I found that the faculty (as well as the students) are passionate about social justice, and community service.

We are also a diverse campus. Several of my friends have decided to exclusively eat raw foods, but a couple of my friends don’t even ascribe to the health message. Regardless, the dining hall serves vegetarian food, and in many instances takes affirmative action to provide options for vegan and gluten-free dieters.  

There are students who abstain from listening to obscene lyrics, and there are some who find even CCM to be repulsive and overtly sensual. I personally pray before I drink a can of soda, but a lot of people don’t even say grace when they eat their salad. That’s okay.

We have students from the Congo, and we have students from Maine. We come from a slew of different backgrounds, and this is always considered when large events are planned, and people who are not of the same faith are welcome here. Fundamentalists, progressives, sexists, and feminists alike roam the halls of Krueger, Engel, and Don Love.  Consequently, our definition of “Adventist” varies in its specificity.

I personally take offense to any slander against this lighthouse of Adventist academia. There are:

weekly opportunities to feed the homeless, over six publicly held bible studies throughout the week, three major worship sessions done over the weekend, several trips out of town for rural ministry, weekday dorm worship sessions, Sabbath hangouts, frequent assistance for the elderly, and many, many more mediums by which to express one’s spirituality.

Discussions about homosexuals generally come from a Christian perspective of love, and not of a holier-than-thou attitude. The forward thinking of this college is even visible with campus architecture in that not one original building from the 19th century remains.

Christ commands us to love another, and He even stated that this and only this was to be our marker as Christians. When I see Union College that is exactly what I see. Friday worship is called Family Worship, and students use words like “fam” or “brother” to refer to their peers.  

Ellen G. White encouraged her readers to have a plentitude of Christian friends, and that is certainly seen in open-invitation potlucks, and the lack of Mean Girls-style seating in the dining hall. There is love here, and that is exactly the “Adventist Part.”

-Jean Etienne, Junior, “About the ‘Adventist’ part”