Students participate in the Ask Big Questions program at Goucher.
At Goucher College, there is a tradition of engaging in campus-wide discussions on issues that are important to us, and that are relevant to the world. In keeping with that spirit, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Goucher Hillel launched the Ask Big Questions program last week with their first question "Where do you feel at Home?"
Started at the Northwestern University Hillel in 2008, the Ask Big Questions program prompts the entire campus to contemplate a variety of existential questions. These questions provide a common starting point for community members of all backgrounds to interact with one another.
"It's not about a particular religious point of view," said Goucher Hillel Director Rabbi Joshua Snyder. "The idea is just having people talk to one another about things that matter."
The point is not to find a definitive answer to the questions, but to learn from dialogue created while examining them, he said.
Four questions will be presented throughout the spring semester, with two weeks devoted to each question.
Goucher's innovation is creating multiple types of events during each two-week period in order to maximally engage the student body. Roundtable discussions, open mic nights at the Gopher Hole (Goucher's coffee house), Jewish text studies, and a community art or dance project will be held to address each question. Bulletin boards will also be placed around campus where students, faculty, and staff can anonymously post their answers to the questions. Goucher College community members can also post online.
"What we're hoping is that a lot of people in a lot of different ways will be sharing their feelings about the questions," Chaplain Cynthia Terry said.
Discussions will be held covering a variety of topics, including how people define home, how home is altered after the death of a loved one, and how the perception of home changes after traveling abroad.
The other questions will be released on February 25, March 25, and April 22.
Snyder, along with Terry, as well as Judith Breidegam, the Goucher Christian Fellowship staff person, and Yona Gorelick, the Hillel engagement fellow, make up the team running the program at Goucher.
For more information, check out the Ask Big Questions website or view the program's blog.