Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Make CLPs More Accessible

CLPs should be recorded and offered at alternative times when possible in order to ensure that all students can benefit from these opportunities for learning and discourse. 
Courtesy of Furman University

Cultural Life Programs are an important way to learn about new perspectives and current events. However, they are predominantly offered between 5-7:30pm — a popular time for sports practice, club meetings and many other obligations. 

The value of attending CLPs extends beyond the 32-for-graduation requirement. The Furman website characterizes CLPs as opportunities for students to “see multiple compelling and legitimate views on cultural issues, inspiring a life-long pursuit of intellectual fulfillment and cultural engagement.”

Beyond the critical thinking that students engage with in the classroom, these events extend our liberal arts mission, offering a voluntary opportunity for deeper exploration of the world and a stimulus for thoughtful discussions among friends. 

In just the past few weeks, Furman has held “Unpacking Barbie” to discuss the implications of the blockbuster feminist film, and offered the “StraightTalk” series to bring students diverse political perspectives on the state of our democracy. These events were popular among students as it allowed them to engage in eye-opening conversations about society today. The high turnout and lively discourse on campus after these CLPs testify to this. 

However, at such popular events, it can be hard to get a seat. “Unpacking Barbie” was held in the Watkins Room at 5 p.m., and students were being turned away ten minutes before the event started — letting in anyone else would have beena fire hazard. 

Meanwhile, a campus-wide Greek life event prevented many students from attending in the first place. 

“Meet the Greeks is a required event for my chapter. A lot of girls especially were interested in attending the Barbie CLP, but it was at a really inconvenient time with Meet the Greeks being at the same time,” Chi Omega member Lydia Beachum ‘24 said. “It would have been a lot easier if unpacking Barbie was at a more convenient time that did not conflict with a major campus event that involves much of the target audience.”

Most CLPs are held around this time, usually lasting anywhere from 5 to 8 p.m. While students aren’t in class then, it is a common time for sports practices, club meetings, and other group meetings, such as those on housing staff. 

“I have enjoyed some quality lecturers and want to participate for more reasons than only satisfying a graduation requirement, but finding CLPs that are copasetic with my schedule is daunting,” football player Ty Youngblood ‘24 said. “If I want to go to an interesting CLP during the season, I am out of luck because all the best ones usually start at 4:00 or 6:30 p.m., when I tend to be in full helmet-shoulder pad attire.”

Beyond getting official credit for CLPs, some professors even require their students to attend these events when they are connected to class material. 

“I was required to go to a CLP for one of my classes, and because of the time, I was forced to miss my club’s first meeting,” Residential Life Committee Executive Officer Jeff McLane ’26 said. 

Some students will always be excluded from attending a CLP because of the time it is held. However, there are ways that the programs can be made accessible to a wider audience than they are now. 

When possible, CLPs hosted by Furman professors could be held at multiple times, such as after 7 to accommodate sports practices. If “Unpacking Barbie” was offered again, the important conversations about feminism could reach many more students. 

Furthermore, the Riley Institute records their programming and posts it on YouTube, allowing students interested in its CLP topics to be informed remotely. But for CLPs that are not hosted by large campus organizations, recordings are generally not available. Since 2020, Furman classrooms have been equipped with extensive Zoom equipment. Why not put this equipment to use again and record these valuable events?

Not every CLP will fit into a student’s schedule. But, there are ways to make them more accessible than they currently are, and doing so would allow more people to benefit from the rich, eye-opening experiences that Furman is so proud to host.

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About the Contributor
Audrey Enghauser
Audrey Enghauser, Editor-in-Chief
Audrey is a sophomore Communications major with a minor in Poverty Studies. She loves leading the team in producing and expanding quality journalism for the Furman community. Outside the newsroom, she produces a podcast for the Malone Center called Career Chronicles and is a member of Furman’s quirkiest fraternity: co-ed service organization Alpha Phi Omega. She can usually be found bullet journalling to bring some calmness and creativity to her chaotic day-to-day life, or watching Seinfeld and Gilmore Girls, her ultimate comfort shows.
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