Opening the Chapel Doors

“Most of the people that you see are white and straight and English-speaking.”

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Transcript for Opening the Chapel Doors

I’m from Valpo. I was born and raised in Valparaiso, Indiana. And I decided to come to Valparaiso University because my sister went here, and I really wanted to be a Deaconess student just like her. And it was the only college I really thought of. I think a lot doors in this community that is Valpo are closed. I think there is a lot diversity like Interlink (ESL training for international students) and GLBTQ students and students of different beliefs, different nationalities, different ethnicities, but there very rarely offered opportunities to come together. Sometimes the chapel hosts an international music service, but no one really goes to it. But other than that, there aren’t [opportunities].You might see students that look different than you in the Union but not very often. I think if you want to find diversity, you really have to seek it out. Or if you are a person of diversity wishing to encounter Americanized students, you have to really have to take initiative and seek them out, and that’s not always a good thing, I think, that we don’t always do the best job welcoming students especially students from other countries. I don’t think we make it very easy for them to build relationships with American students. I think American students on this campus aren’t really encouraged to interact with them; they’re not prohibited, but they’re not encouraged. And even if they wanted to, there’s not clear opportunities to do so either. So I think that there’s a lot of diversity on this campus, but it’s not connected in ways that make it accessible for people to figure out how to build those relationships.

I think the chapel right now is a very challenged community. After Pastor Grega’s passing (Spring 2010), I think a lot of things have changed, and the chapel is very much in transition, and it’s not particularly welcoming. There’s always talk of figuring ways to opening the doors to students who might not identify as Christian, but as far as I know that hasn’t happened. It’s also a very strange environment like when you walk in, you not necessarily going to be greeted by anybody, or things of that nature. And there’s also a bit of a debate about who’s welcome. Most of the people that you see are white and straight and English-speaking. You don’t really see international students, and you don’t really see students who identify as GLBTQ. And you don’t see students that aren’t white. And I think that that’s sad for the community of the chapel because it’s a very…it’s just a very…I’m trying to think of the word…it’s just a very like unified community in its appearance and in its thought processes. Which could be good, but I think it’s bad right now because they’re very unified in a narrow-minded way. And I’m someone that does go to chapel regularly, and that’s one of the things that kinda pains me about it.