College of Arts and Sciences should host own event celebrating academia

By Tracy Lum

Senior Editor

Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen many of my friends in engineering majors disappear into the mysterious chambers of Dana Engineering Building as they finalize their top-secret plans for Engineers Week. Even when they finally surface, their attention lingers on the promise of triumph and borders on paranoia, as they search the Bison for rival engineers (or spies).

They speak in code or whispers, waiting for the approach of any engineer–friend or foe–who might overhear their conversation. Whether to brag about how their banner, video and poem will undoubtedly dominate the other engineering departments, or to eavesdrop on other engineers’ plans, my friends clearly have only one thing on their minds: E-Week.

This year, the University is celebrating its tenth observed Engineers Week, a tradition that developed out of National Engineers Week. Typically the six engineering departments compete with each other in creative events, engage in outdoor games like a math relay and eating contest, and culminate the celebration with a fancy dinner where the final scores are revealed, and the Golden Hammer is awarded to the winning department.

It’s a week of competition, creativity, team building and spirit, as well as a week that ostensibly leaves students of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Management out. So why doesn’t the College of Arts and Sciences organize a week of games and competition of its own?

Think about the approximately 750 students of the Arts and Sciences in each class that don’t have the opportunity to engage in this rousing and contentious week. With 23 departments and eight interdisciplinary programs, surely the liberal arts and sciences students could pull some competition together.

Though classes tend to be larger, and though liberal arts and sciences students may not spend as much time with the same group of people, a similar A&S-Week could morph into an opportunity for students within the same majors to get to know one another.

Such a week could also build cooperative skills and foster a sense of pride and community, while also celebrating academia. Competitions could also be broken into subgroups of humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and math for greater manageability.

Since the engineers compete in activities that they associate with the liberal arts, some have questioned what a parallel A&S-Week would consist of. In reality, anything and everything. There is nothing that a true student of the liberal arts and sciences enjoys more than a good challenge.

Not only can we make banners, write poems, solve puzzles and withstand tests of physical agility, but we could do it with even greater finesse than engineers could, probably with the skills that we’ve acquired with all that extra time we don’t spend complaining about life in Dana.

Students of engineering have often deemed our college the “College of Arts & Crafts.” We who study the liberal arts know that each subject is valuable, and that our chosen majors endow us with a set of analytical, problem-solving and creative skills that cannot be found elsewhere.

With a week of our own, we could demonstrate our passion for and devotion to our areas of expertise, as well as the breadth and depth of our acquired knowledge. We could finally retaliate against the degrading remarks that engineers proffer against our majors. Arts and Sciences Week would serve as a defense of the liberal arts and the type of education that is so important to this University.

Granted, after fielding complaints about how many liberal arts and sciences students feel left out of E-Week, the engineers have so graciously opened up an interactive event to us called Night DAWG.

While a nice gesture, the students of the liberal arts and sciences do not desire a pity party. We deserve the opportunity to compete and to be recognized as a vital part of the academic community. It’s time to remember the arts and sciences at this premier liberal arts institution, and celebrating an A&S-Week is one way of doing so.

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