Welcome Back: Editor Note

An exciting return to campus after several months

After a long 18 months of being apart, the time has finally arrived for students to return back to campus for face to face classes. Whether this is your first time getting to be on campus or you’re returning back to campus, on behalf of The Syrinx staff, welcome back to campus! We are excited to be back, and we hope you’ve enjoyed your first week back! 

 It’s both exciting and nerve racking returning to in person class when most of us have been learning behind a screen of a computer these past 18 months. Being online and transitioning back face-to-face can be a daunting, new challenge for this semester. However, this is also an opportunity to get involved and be a part of the community here at FPU. 

 As the semester continues on, here at The Syrinx we will be sharing stories with you about campus life, sports teams, music and theatre, and events that are happening locally. Stay tuned next week for more online stories. Have a wonderful semester, Sunbirds, and we wish you the best of luck this semester! 

Nikki Campos | Editor in Chief

Keep your head up

How to stay positive in trying times

Remaining positive in the midst of a storm is a choice that is not easy or simple to make, but it is important. Currently, people are trying to balance the unpredictable forces that have brought so much change to their lives and navigate through an overwhelming feeling of confusion and surrealism. 

One way to remain positive is to know that we are not alone in this journey. It is not one that we asked for or even thought as a possibility a few weeks ago, but we are here. We can take comfort in knowing that our entire community is going through this together.

Remember, you are not alone in this and grace is a wonderful gift to bestow upon yourself. 

Grace is a key concept that people should keep in mind during this time of trying to remain positive in the midst of uncertainty. Giving oneself grace is extremely empowering. This means allowing yourself to take what you are experiencing during this time of quarantine and feel it. Grace is a safe space. It can be difficult to give yourself that luxury, but it can yield wonderful results. There are going to be times where we may not feel fulfilled in our current situation and that’s okay. Grace is giving yourself the gift of knowing it’s okay not to be okay. If anything comes from keeping your head up, it’s giving yourself grace. 

FPU recognizes that this is far from the ideal community atmosphere and they have made many strides to keep up school pride. They have decided to have a live stream every weekday at noon with various students and faculty doing different things. For example, the other day Hannah Weaver took viewers on a fun-filled “hike” in her own backyard. It’s a great attempt at keeping students engaged within the community and with one another. The Instagram page is FPU Life. 

In terms of things you can do to remain positive I recommend bringing a little happiness to your life, whatever that means for you. For me that’s warming my onesie in the dryer and eating some ice cream. Maybe it can be playing some video games, watching a rom-com or completing a craft. Whatever your preference is, just do something that can bring a little light to your day. It’s the little things that can bring the biggest smiles!

There may not be much to do inside during quarantine but at the end of the day it’s what you make of it. Take this time to be productive and finish those assignments you’ve been putting off. Use it as time to binge watch Disney+ and revisit your childhood. Make this time into something good by using it to your advantage! Remember, you are not alone in this and grace is a wonderful gift to bestow upon yourself. 

Author: Dani Mercado

We Need to Appreciate, not Spectate the Environment

Conversation about the environment, and humanity’s relationship to it, is nothing new. This topic is actually moving towards the center of political discussion. Students across the globe in 1700 cities boycotted school on March 15 in a coordinated effort to raise awareness about the tangible effects of climate change, ranging from ravaging fires destroying home to unbreathable air, and what governments and organizations can do to start addressing unsustainable practices. Discussion on climate change has been ramping up in the public sphere. So how does Fresno Pacific fit in this discourse?

The goal of this issue is to start investigating how we conceptualize our individual and institutional relationship to the environment. The temptation, and often tendency, is to reduce nature, the literal physical space we are in and move through, to nothing more than that. Space is a container that we fill. Our relationship to the environment becomes static and passive, even positioning ourselves as the justified dominators of such a space.

Genesis 1:28 mentions dominion over nature when God commands Adam and Eve to “fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (NRSV). Dominion, though, does not call for destruction. Hugh Whelchel, executive director at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, says dominion, when read with the larger narrative of Christianity and living in God’s image in mind, is about stewardship: “To fulfill our role we must be prepared to understand that this work of dominion should be expressed as service—sacrificial service that serves God and the common good.”

We want to adopt a position that sees nature as active, alive, breathing, growing and certainly responsive to how we behave in relation to it.”

So how can we orient ourselves to nature into something more involved and truly representative of an actual relationship? How can we move from being passive inhabitants to becoming active appreciators of and tenders to the environment? How can we start thinking about a nature that engages with us and responds to what we do to it, just as in any other relationship?

The first steps may be to simply start paying attention and engaging with it. This is reflected in stories such as that of the Sierra Program (pg 4), bird watching (pg 11) and Blossom Trail (pg 12). These stories are part of critically observing what is already around us on campus, in the Central Valley and in California.

Other stories recognize what we are doing well. The greenhouse story (pg 3) and that on how three students sought to ensure the new Culture and Arts Center (covered in issue 5) recognize the developing infrastructure in FPU that brings a positive understanding to how nature can work with us and how we can work with it in turn.

While recognizing the active steps our university is taking, we also want to highlight areas of improvement that could reflect a serious commitment to approaching the environment actively and with care (as well as perhaps saving money). The lack of any solar installations feels unquestioned and unaddressed; this is odd, considering that many businesses, schools and colleges in the Central Valley area seek to install solar for long term profit rather than environmental purposes. Our story on FPU’s lack of public transportation services (pg 10) examines pragmatic and environmental ways we are behind other universities. When it comes to creation care, it seems FPU often takes reactive steps rather than proactive steps, meeting requirements rather than demonstrating a serious commitment to engaging in a positive relationship with the environment.

Our hope this issue, on an individual and institutional level, is to start transforming how we think of nature. We want to adopt a position that sees nature as active, alive, breathing, growing and certainly responsive to how we behave in relation to it. This, then, places a certain responsibility on us to self-examine ourselves, and reflect about the ways we think about ourselves in our relationship with (not our inhabination of) nature.