Staff Editorial

Cory Robertson

Despite our liberal arts ideals, Lawrence sometimes begins to look a lot like a school for specialists. While college should, to a certain extent, be a time to specialize, to learn one’s craft as well as possible, we sometimes forget the multifaceted environment surrounding us. A sense of division by choice of pursuit is apparent in many aspects of our campus life. For some of us, it is evident in where we spend our time – Wriston is the place for art students, the Conservatory is where music students work and socialize, and science students spend many hours in Youngchild and Science Hall.
This kind of division extends to social and extracurricular aspects of Lawrence as well. Especially conspicuous is the polarity of athletics and music. In fact, Lawrence seems to have, in these two interests, two entirely different cultures. A handful of students here are both musicians and athletes, but that is, for many reasons, a difficult combination to balance. According to Dean Thayer of the Conservatory, when conservatory faculty schedule concerts and rehearsals, it is difficult enough just to avoid scheduling conflicts within the Conservatory itself, without worrying about extra-departmental events. The athletics department most likely faces the same situation. Is interaction between athletes and musicians, on any kind of noticeable level, a viable possibility at Lawrence?
There are a couple of instances where it may be. One is the presence of intramural sports, where any group can form a team, and often student organizations that have nothing to do with athletics are involved. But perhaps a stronger crossover opportunity is the emergence of the Lawrence University Pep Band, a newly formed organization, made up of both conservatory and college students, which has taken upon itself the shocking task of bringing music to Lawrence intercollegiate games. Rob Strelow, the group’s leader, said that when he came to Lawrence, he expected there to be a great pep band, since our music program is so strong. Perhaps, with the development of the Pep Band, the gap between athletics and music can be bridged just a little.
The polarity of sports and music is just one instance of such divisions at Lawrence. By pointing this out, Lawrentian editors are not asking you to become involved in something you are not interested in. What we do ask, however, is that you muster the courage to reach across boundaries you are interested in transcending, whether they be artistic, social, or intellectual. We have heard President Beck speak on the exciting possibilities of interdisciplinary projects, and we can, perhaps, expect those kinds of interactions to grow during her tenure. Last spring we saw the visual and performing arts come together beautifully in the execution of Art Plethora, a student-run collaboration of improvisational music and painting. A liberal arts education is about these kinds of connections, not about blind specialization. If we wanted to isolate ourselves within our own disciplines and interests, we would have chosen to pursue our education somewhere else.