The AWOL Bulletin Board

AWOL

Have something to say? Say it in AWOL. The Bulletin Board is designed to give a voice to AU clubs and organizations, but it’s open to everyone. We accept submissions of 250 words or less: send articles, press releases, or diatribes (but not advertisements) to [email protected]

College students are often very self-sufficient. Each day many of us wake up, brush our own teeth and take a shower without assistance. We get dressed on our own and proceed to make or buy our own breakfast. After eating, we make our way to class. Some of us take mass transportation to campus while others simply walk out of our dorms. No matter where we live, we get to school on our own, no help. We take our independence for granted.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 50 million Americans have disabilities. These individuals, of all ages, are often deprived of the opportunity to eat on their own, travel without help, and receive a world-class education. They long for things we take advantage of.
This is where Best Buddies International steps in. Founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find jobs, live on their own, and become inspirational leaders, all as a byproduct of friendship. The non-profit organization puts people of all ages (from middle school to retirement home) in one-on-one friendships with individuals with disabilities.
AU’s chapter of Best Buddies has created over 25 friendships between AU students and individuals with special needs. Students write to their “Buddies” each week, letting them know that they matter. In January, Best Buddies attended an AU women’s basketball game, an event that all the Buddies enjoyed. The organization is making a difference in the lives of these individuals and getting so much in return. Not only are the members learning from their buddies but they have been rewarded with a greater appreciation for their independence, while getting to watch their Buddies become more self-sufficient each day.

AU Best Buddies

AU Solidarity is the campus organization that advocates for the rights of workers at our university. We believe that we have power as tuition-paying students and that the university our concerns about the university funding workers rights abuses should be heard. This semester, we are fighting for the university to increase bookstore orders from the only union, living wage collegiate apparel brand, Alta Gracia, and for the university to re-establish the corporate responsibility board with student representation. As always, we will respond to labor rights abuses on campus as they are brought to our attention.
We are an affiliate of the national student labor solidarity movement United Students Against Sweatshops. Our meetings are usually held on Tuesday nights at 8 in the CASJ office in the basement of Kay spiritual life center.

AU Solidarity

To many AU students, the word “Christian” brings to mind images of Westboro Baptist protesters, judgmental pastors and Quran-burning days.
The United Methodist-Protestant Community wants to change this impression. You may have seen us at the Rally to Reaffirm Sanity, the recent effort by the AU community to counter the hateful message promoted by the Westboro Baptist Church. As students gathered to support love and acceptance, the United Methodist Student Association passed out 500 cups of hot chocolate to chilly attendees. We wanted to give students more than just warm hands; we wanted to show the community that our idea of Christianity accepts them exactly as they are.
The Reconciling Ministries Network began in 1982 as a movement within the Methodist church to make participation in the church open to all people. Elise Alexander, formal co-chair of the UMSA Social Justice Committee, explained that its mission statement “takes the step of making explicit the community’s welcoming status…it’s one thing to assume people know you’re welcoming, but another and very important [thing] to say it out loud and directly.”
Recently, the UMSA decided that it was time to review the Reconciling Statement. The goal was to create a new statement more reflective of current members’ ideas. Alexander considered the discussion a successful one, observing that “people in the community learned more about RMN and the reconciling process and were empowered to claim the community and statement as their own.” The proposed changes can be found on the UMSA website along with a place for community members to comment on the suggestions.
Alexander affirmed that AU’s UMSA “aim[s] to maintain and grow our status as the religious community on campus which is welcoming of all people and to continue showing God’s encompassing love to the campus.”

Caroline Marsh

United Methodist Student Association