OUR POINT THIS WEEK: Butler’s new cultural requirement is a positive attempt to increase student awareness and embrace liberal arts values.
While not an unusual effort, Butler’s decision to require culture from its incoming class has caused some students and Indianapolis residents to shake their heads and dig in their heels.
Compulsory attendance to campus events such as ballets, theatre productions and speeches may seem oppressive to some, but we at The Butler Collegian believe that Butler’s new requisite is a sign that the university is embracing its liberal arts values and taking beneficial steps toward producing well-rounded, culturally aware graduates.
Cultural requirements are not new to Butler’s campus. Many professors require attendance to cultural events as part of their coursework and several academic departments require the same. Some students are expected to attend as many as five events in one semester.
However, the new cultural requirement mandates only one event per semester. This is a perfectly reasonable task and one easily completed by most Butler students.
The additional requirement does pose an irritation to students who are already expected to attend several cultural events. As yet another liberal arts requisite, this may seem like overkill to those under pressure.
However, The Collegian staff believes that a requirement which applies to all Butler students, not only those in certain classes or belonging to certain departments, sends the message that Butler takes the arts seriously.
Some individuals have expressed concern that Butler’s new requirement is merely a ploy to fill seats at events that are not usually heavily attended. The staff of The Collegian recognizes this concern, but we see no reason to condemn Butler for promoting attendance to such campus events. Students should be just as proud to take a seat in the black box theatre as they are to fill the seats in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Although requiring attendance to campus events may seem to some like an endorsement of the “Butler bubble,” it is in fact a promotion of the hard work and talent of our fellow students. Supporting our collegiate peers is important, and this new requirement provides students with an opportunity to show support and enthusiasm where we may fail to do so.
While the new cultural requirement certainly promotes the arts on Butler’s campus, it also poses benefits for students in each and every academic department.
No, viewing a ballet will not help pharmacy students with their chemistry final, but it will give them a break from their science-driven lives. It will expose them to an aspect of our unversity they are not usually involved in and maybe even inspire a previously unrecognized love for the arts.
No matter what, attendance to such cultural events will broaden horizons and increase awareness, which is what a liberal arts education is all about.