Societies seek to revitalize with fresh focus on fellowship, service


Dakota Stiling leads a charge for the Rams at society rush. Photo: Ciara Weant

Society rush was extended from one week to two this year in order to help students make a more conscientious choice of society. The goal of this change is that students will choose a society based on deeper convictions than simply freebies and events, helping societies to refocus on fellowship and service.

“This change allows freshmen to make a more informed decision based less on T-shirts and hot dogs, and more on people and relationships,” said Matthew Weathers, coordinator of student leadership.

Weathers hopes that recent changes will help students value their peers more than the events. While events are a pivotal part of society, they are not the focal point, Weathers said. “Events, sports and outings are a means to an end and not the end in itself.”

How can students embrace the change and maximize the opportunity for their own societies? According to BJU’s Center for Leadership and Development, the society’s main mission should be to foster peer relationships focused on serving God, one another and the world around them.

“Societies should be a platform to develop leaders and create opportunities for God-honoring relationships to grow,” Weathers said. “They are a community of service-focused relationships.”

Dr. Eric Newton, dean of students, agrees, saying, “It’s one of those universal truths that if you go very long thinking about yourself, you will be dissatisfied because God didn’t make us that way.”

The Center for Leadership and Development is encouraging students to take a fresh approach to how they participate in societies this year. Weathers believes that societies lie at the heart of student life at BJU and that keeping them energized and focused is key to uniting the student body.