“Good morning and welcome to Chapel,” jokingly began the unlikely visitor and guest speaker during Wednesday’s Students’ Association meeting.
Congress reconvened after the Thanksgiving holiday to meet with Mark Lewis, the assistant dean of spiritual life and chapel programs, and to discuss office hours, the Christmas Basketball Slam and the congress member of the month.
Lewis said a strong presence of Christianity was on campus, although at some point, many other places had it too.
“What we have found is over time, universities relegate Jesus to a seminary,” he said. “It’s kind of what happens in a university environment.”
Lewis went on to explain that one distinction between culturally Christian schools and culturally secular schools is whether the school had a mandatory Chapel program.
Congress members questioned Lewis about the 55-credit program, the selection of forum speakers and the effectiveness of Tuesday and Thursday Chapels.
“The policy used to be one absence allowed per week,” Lewis explained. In 2003, it was changed from an absence-based system to a credit-based system, which required fewer days of Chapel attendance per semester.
He also explained that obtaining credit for Summit or a forum was a fairly new concept to achieve the required attendance.
As congress moved to discuss other points of business, it was announced that the deadline for completing the two required hours for representatives and four required hours for class officers would be extended through the end of the semester. The original deadline was that Wednesday.
Executive vice president Julianne Hart, senior political science major from Austin, suggested members finish their hours by helping to promote the Christmas Basketball Slam.
Hart said everyone was expected to participate in the half-time show. Members are also to get five people to agree to dance. For service hours, members could help pass out candy canes with the basketball team in the Campus Center to promote the event.
While congress works to build a new end-of-semester tradition, last minute plans are also being finalized to continue past favorites. Hart told congress she is working to provide students with free coffee and hot chocolate again this year during finals week. She said those plans still need to be confirmed with the head of Business Services, Anthony Williams.
Although one freshman member of congress hastily moved for the meeting to adjourn, the motion was denied for one more announcement, the congress member of the month.
Laurel Blackmon, junior communications major from Ft. Worth and class president, received the honor. Blackmon said she is in the midst of planning a Dead Day event to bring free food and fun to students during a stressful time of the year.
Blackmon said her goal is to reach out to students.
“And the most important thing is making sure they feel heard.”