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ISSUE 120 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/13/2006

Letter to the Editor

By Letter to the Editor
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 13, 2006

I am sure that I wasn’t the only one who was annoyed after reading last week’s opinion article [“Homecoming disturbs”] in the Messenger. The article commented on this year’s Homecoming theme and directed a lot of unwarranted criticism towards the work of SAC in regards to this matter. Some of the problems the author had with the theme included racial issues in Australia, the lack of focus on people in Australia, and last but not least the context of the boomerangs handed out by the Crossroads.

For most students on campus, Homecoming is a fun week with activities and out-of-the-ordinary events, where we can take a break from intense studying and show some school spirit. It is easy to go through a typical day on campus without ever considering how lucky we are to be part of the St. Olaf community. SAC plays an important role in reminding us of how much we love this campus, whether that means going to see the hypnotist, purchasing Homecoming T-shirts, or screaming out the "Um Ya Ya" song when the football team plays its annual Homecoming game. Through their hard work putting this week together, they help us participate in the campus to which we all belong.

The Homecoming theme is not a forum for expressing political views, nor is it an opportunity to address difficult and complicated issues. By that I don’t mean that the unjust situation of Aborigines in Australia is not an issue Oles should be aware of, I’m merely making the point that Homecoming week is not the time to address it. I can say with 100 percent certainty that Oles learn a great deal about inequality and discrimination throughout the rest of the year in their classes, but Homecoming is purely an opportunity for the student body and faculty to celebrate the school and our campus community. Just because there is a Steve Irwin figure at crossroads does not mean that people are dishonoring Steve Irwin’s memory. He is a cultural icon of Australia and will continue to be so for a long time after his death. Connecting him to an Australian Homecoming theme is neither disrespectful nor unexpected. The underlying point is that Homecoming is about having fun.

Correcting the posters with facts about Australia is pointless and connecting a political situation to this year’s theme is needless. The "Down Under" theme is only a way of illustrating a week that simply aims to bring out our common school spirit. There is no need to complicate something simple and straight forward just for the heck of it.

Secondly, criticizing the hard work of others is easy, but not always reasonable or justified. The members of SAC continuously strive to create opportunities for the student body to enjoy themselves on campus, working even more intensely to put together Homecoming week. One can see the fruits of their work throughout the campus in form of the sweatpants, T-shirts, sweaters, hats, mini-koalas and boomerangs that students have either bought or received for free from the SAC booth at Crossroads. Who cares if the boomerangs are made out of plastic?

Homecoming is purely about having fun and showing school spirit. There is no need to read into a Homecoming theme because it is simply an illustration meant to put flair in a week where we can all enjoy ourselves as St. Olaf students. We should all thank the people that work so hard to put all of these activities together. Without them, there simply wouldn’t be any Homecoming week at all.

–Thor Steinhovden ‘09

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