"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Monday, August 15, 2011

Evergreen is Not George Fox

Before I explain the “why”, I should be clear that I’m not talking about the international school at which I teach English, which shares the campus with official Evergreen students. These two groups are different entities, and my international students are often a bit perplexed by some of the characteristics and activities of Evergreen students.

There are a few less Evergreen students around right now, being summer break and all, and lots of construction is happening, thwarting many of my regular routes. I do miss a bit of the normal chaos of Evergreen culture, though I’m sure with the Fall rapidly approaching that this culture will soon return.

And in being here for nearly eleven months now, I’ve been reminded often how very different of an experience I had as an undergraduate compared to the life of an undergraduate here at Evergreen. Here are just a few snapshots:

  • The primary non-cafeteria dining option at GFU was the “Bruin’s Den.” The primary non-cafeteria dining option at Evergreen is “The Flaming Eggplant."
  • Some GFU students would scandalously scan their student ID card at chapel and walk away, getting chapel credit without actually attending. Some Evergreen students smoke weed.
  • Apparently a transgender Evergreen student was protesting the way the hippie, eco-conscious students on campus use the term “Mother Earth,” I assume because of the exclusive femininity of the name (talk about out-liberaling liberals). At George Fox University, I can’t quite remember what we protested—that every day wasn’t omelet day in the school cafeteria? Being required to attend morning chapel services? Floor hours that prevented us from hanging out in the girls dorms beyond 10pm?
  • Greeners, on sunny days, get out their tribal drums and jam in the main square on campus; I’ve also seen jugglers and hula hoopers. GFU students, on similar days, got out their guitars and “did” worship.
  • I recently saw a Greener raising funds for a sort of Christian mission/humanitarian trip to Africa; her sign read “4 the Clit.” Her goal in going is to give aid to women affected by genital mutilation. At GFU our mission trip signs were much less provocative.
  • The GFU mascot was a big bear (can’t remember if he/she was more cuddly or more angry). The Evergreen mascot is a geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck). Do you know what a geoduck is? Or more importantly, do you know what it looks like? Click on this link for a page of images: Geoducks
  • At Evergreen, students grade themselves; there are no set grades. I’m not familiar enough with this system and its success to know if it is a good motivator for students or not. Maybe for a certain type of individual. But man that would have been nice, to have chosen my grades. I had to work hard to get an A in Dr. Jolliff’s literature classes…and such A’s were rare.
  • Evergreen has several designated smoking spots, where smokers congregate together. GFU had designated DTR spots, where you told each other you thought God wanted you and your romantic interest to fool around a bit.
  • When I think of smells associated with Evergreen, I think of trees and of body odor; there are a lot of people who don’t believe in deodorant, for well-thought out reasons. When I think of smells associated with GFU, I think of fresh cut grass, Grandpa Roy’s roses, and I think of my hair gel, which I only quit using about a year ago. I don’t really enjoy looking at old college pictures of my hair. I guess hair styles often look dated in old pictures, don’t they?

In the end, I wouldn’t trade my GFU experience for anything. But I do enjoy getting a taste of a much different kind of college experience, if only as an observer.

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