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How does social media use affect IWU students?

Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Yik Yak, Tinder, Tumblr and Instagram are widely used throughout campus. While there are benefits to using social media, the tendency for students to post questionable content can cause more harm than good.

These media offer some great benefits, such as the ability to stay in contact with our loved ones and receive news from around the world.

However, with the benefits there are downsides. Advancements in internet technology have given rise to major problems such as cyberbullying, online predators and the display of inappropriate behavior.

Many students are unclear on the university’s role in their social media, if the university can see and regulate it, and if they have the ability to take down anything they deem as unfit.

“If it violates a university policy, then the university can address an issue with the student,” Andrew Parker, vice president of student development, said. “The outcome of that pursuit could involve a simple conversation, or it could involve the student conduct process.”

In regards to the Internet and social media, the IWU handbook states:

“The internet has provided many advances and opportunities for students to connect in cyber-communities, not only on the IWU campus but also nationwide and globally. Students must be careful that the material that is posted on their accounts falls within University expectations. In addition, students need to be aware that the material on their site is open to public viewing … IWU monitors and filters all internet activity [on any computer hardware owned by IWU] and provides regular reports of internet use to the office of the Vice President for Student Development.”

With this in mind, while the university may not be hunting for social media posts that violate the handbook rules, they are capable of working with social media sites directly to remove inappropriate content.

IWU prefers to take a hands-off approach to social media, only getting involved when necessary.“The university attempts to use sound judgment in deciding which situations to address,” Parker says.

While social media keeps people connected, they can also create problems. For example, negative posts are frequently posted to Yik Yak regarding various topics including chapel and Baldwin. The tendency is to forget that even though posts written on social media are not directly spoken to the person, they still hold weight and have consequences.

“The negative impacts of social media are not unique to IWU’s campus. With so many different ways of sharing and viewing content, social media has a way of consuming us. It makes it harder for us to live in the moment,” Digital Media Manager Jay Filson said.

Social media is also affecting incoming students in a different way. IWU does not directly seek out incoming students’ social media accounts but do actively use social media as a way to connect and inform incoming students.

“We aim to meet students where they’re at. If they prefer to communicate with a counselor via a social media channel, we attempt to be present, reachable and interact with them in that medium,” Adam Farmer, Director of Admissions says. “Outside of this experience, we encounter a student’s social media profile rarely.”

IWU would like students to use social media with caution and remember that what people say can and does have an impact on others.

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IWU raising money for Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone

With countless individuals sick and dying, the severity of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone has caused The Wesleyan Church to take action.

General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church and founder of the Christian humanitarian program World Hope, Dr. JoAnne Lyon, has reached out to Indiana Wesleyan University in order to raise funds for a project named “IWU Cares.”

The project’s goal is to raise $30,000—enough money to purchase an ambulance for Kamakwie Hospital in Sierra Leone.

Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital is one of the few hospitals in Sierra Leone the government has put in charge of the Ebola situation. It only has two ambulances to transport the sick and remove the deceased Ebola victims all across Sierra Leone, both of which are old and need replacing, according to Dean of the Chapel Dr. Jim Lo.

The situation has become so intense that the hospital has began to ask workers to use their own private vehicle to transport victims of Ebola.

Lo believes IWU needs to be a part of this project because Christians have a responsibility for other believers who are suffering.

“If we say that we have around 3,000 people that are a part of the residential community and each person gives just ten dollars, we can meet this need very, very quickly,” Lo said.

Lo has reached out to the Director of Alumni Rick Carder to consider asking alumni to give to this fundraiser as well.

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Dr. Jim Lo is encouraging people to donate money to buy this ambulance to help those stricken with Ebola in Sierra Leone.

“We are talking about people helping people,” Carder said in an email interview with The Sojourn. “Through the community here at IWU, we believe that each one of us can do something and by combining those gifts we can accomplish so much.”

Lo recognizes not everyone is able to give large amounts of money for causes such as this, but encourages everyone to give by prayer.

“We [IWU] talk a lot about being world changers, and I recognize that not everyone can get out into the world to be the world changers that way, but one of the ways that we can bless other people in the world that are in need is by giving,” Lo said.

An offering for this project will be taken during chapel once a week starting Friday, Nov. 14 until the end of the semester. Student leaders will also be walking through the dorms to raise additional funds.

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Editorial: What are the ethics behind swiping and leaving chapel?

The new chapel swipe system has been a topic of conversation since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, begging the question: is it okay for students to swipe and leave?

This question has been argued from both sides. Indiana Wesleyan University has had chapel as a requirement since its founding, more recently with the option to use up to six chapel skips a semester.

This is the first year the integrity of students has been in question in regards to chapel.

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Students face a decision every time they swipe into chapel.

Chapel, which is held at 10:05 a.m., allows students to swipe their ID for chapel credit from 9:45 to 10:15. Over three different chapel days, I stood between two doors and counted how many people swiped their ID and left between 9:50 and 10:05. Over the three observed days, an average of approximately 187 people swiped and left each day. Keep in mind, this number only includes a percentage of the students that left chapel because only two doors were involved in the observation.

So how does The Office of the Dean of the Chapel feel about the number of students choosing not to stay for the chapel services?

“We decided to go with the one-swipe [system] because we wanted to show that we trusted our students,” Dean of Chapel Jim Lo says. “We went to the administration and then on to the cabinet and I presented that I believe that most of our students really are trustworthy individuals, so we wanted to give them more freedom.”

The major point Lo is trying to make is that the one-swipe system was not put in place because it was easier, faster or cheaper. While all of these things might be true, the one-swipe system was put in place to grant the students more responsibility, trust and freedom. I think that, as a student body, we are so focused on the thrill of getting away with something, that we have chosen to throw away the newfound trust and responsibility we have been entrusted with by the university.

The argument on one side is that swiping and leaving is a lie. You are not correctly representing Christ because you are allowing someone to believe something that is not true.

“We are a Christ-centered university, therefore we should strive to be more like Christ.” Timothy Loney (fr) said. “By intentionally deciding to not be at chapel, and yet swiping into chapel, you are not living up to the call of this university and more importantly, the call of Christ.”

The counter argument is, “What if I have homework? Or a big test? Can’t I praise God through excellence in my school work?” This is a valid argument, but we must remember to be respectful of the speakers who have given up their time to come share God’s word, as well as the students who want to hear it.

“This is an integrity issue, I have spoken to guest speakers, the thing that distracts many of them is when they see the students getting up and walking out,” Lo said. “It’s been very painful for them to see that because a message is already being given.”

While swiping and leaving can be viewed as an integrity issue, we must remember that we are still one body in Christ, even though attending chapel is now a personal decision, that does not give us the right to judge those who chose not to attend.

“Those who choose to stay for chapel shouldn’t look down on those who choose not to go. Just because we have chosen not to go does not mean that we are less of a Christian than they are,” Hannah Guerin (so) says. “Those who look down on others for doing what only they think is wrong might be the ones who need to be at chapel the most.”

While the actual percentage of students leaving chapel services is relatively low, it is important to keep the issue of integrity at the forefront of our minds. Skipping chapel might give us a “thrill”, but while we are missing out on chapel, we just might be missing out on God.

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Small class, essential skills: UNV-170 teaches students effective research skills

Where can I find the information I need? How do I find that information quickly? How will I know if it is credible? What questions do I need to ask – and answer – about my topic?

These are the types of questions the class UNV-170: Introduction to Library Research will answer. One of the smallest classes at IWU, the class usually runs between four and six students, giving students a lot of personal attention.

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UNV-170 welcomes all students interested improving their research skills.

“What we try to do with the course is lay the foundations of information in general and how information has grown and how evaluation has or has not changed over the centuries,” Library Director Sheila Carlblom said. “We’re really trying to give people the fundamentals.”

Carlblom and Reference Librarian Laura Kelsey teach the class, with Carlblom as the main professor.

“It’s very practical for the student. We show you a lot of tips and tricks that you aren’t going to gather on your own,” Kelsey said. “A lot of students comment after they’ve had the class that they wish they had had the class earlier in their college careers.”

The class will teach students how to evaluate sources and databases to find out what’s worth using in their papers. It will also focus on what resources to use in certain situations. The class has been offered every semester since 2007, but did not run this semester due to low registration.

Carlblom and Kelsey would like a class size of about 10 or 12.

“We are prepared for 24, but you would get far less individualized attention,” Carlbom said. “We said we could do 24 because so many professors said they wanted their students taking this.”

Carlblom finds the individual attention very helpful to students, as they are able to bring their own research topics to class.

“We’re not here to make extra work. What we would rather do is the students have something in play, which is why its almost easier for a sophomore or junior, or even a senior, because they have so many research projects they need to get done,” Carlblom said. “We don’t want to create more work, but better work.”

Both Carlblom and Kelsey find the course does more than just teach students how to be successful in college.

“Even if you’re not going to [graduate] school, these are concepts you can continually apply in lifelong learning,” Kelsey said. “Sometimes students wing it in preparing for classes and just get the information that’s necessary, but in your personal life doing personal research thats not what you’re going to want.”

“All of life is dependant on asking the right questions. It’s important to understand that these are the questions we need to ask to do due diligence in every area of life and when it comes to our health and what we put in our bodies, that’s important stuff,” Carlblom said, using the example of advertised “miracle” diet pills to show how important it will be out of college to do your research.

For the 2015 spring semester, UNV-170, a one credit hour class, will be held Mondays from 2:20-3:15 p.m.

“We are more than willing to work with whatever students are willing to come our way,” Carlblom said.

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