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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

How to Engage Students in Future Heritage Days

Photo courtesy of Mark Harris

Let’s call a spade a spade: most students are not fans of Heritage Day. It is by far the biggest event of the year for Moravian, but I rarely find a student who enjoys it.

Freshmen have no idea what exactly it is or what to expect, and upperclassmen more often than not have a jaded and cynical view of the event. Heck, my first article for The Comenian was a “Rant of the Week” against Heritage Day back in my freshman year.

Despite my and most students’ complaints, I do genuinely believe Heritage Day is a great idea, but as it stands, it doesn’t seem to unite the Moravian Community like it purports to do. Currently, Heritage Day isn’t living up to its name for most students.

So we must ask ourselves how it can be improved. 

The most common complaint I hear from most students is how they are forced to sit through roughly two hours of what is essentially nonsense before they go to their service assignments. I fully understand that there does need to be a kickoff for this event, but in its current state, it just takes away from time that could be used doing service projects. So much time is spent talking about Moravian in the opening ceremony, but I feel like we should just let our school’s actions speak for themselves instead of talking about how great our school is.

If the kickoff was shortened to maybe an hour or so, not only would it make the entire thing feel a lot more concise, but it would also make it feel less like a PR event and more like a day of service. We should not be spending more time in speeches than we are doing service.

Across the board, nearly every student agrees that the best part about Heritage Day is the actual service projects. It’s genuinely fun and fulfilling to be able to lend a helping hand even in these small ways. 

Because of that, why not have the projects be longer? Considering the commutes and cleanups for many of these events, many students don’t even get to do two hours of service. So I think having more built-in time for students to pay it forward would help strengthen the impact of the event. 

I think having three or four hours of service would make the event more useful to the wider Bethlehem community by allowing more time for our community to contribute meaningful service. 

I also just think Heritage Day needs to take place later in the day. 

There is nothing students dread more than having to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Having the event start around 10 or 11 am would definitely help, along with serving brunch similar to how it is with Accepted Students Day. 

Also, the shirts should be given away at the kickoff event so that students can wear the shirts during their service projects (also please make short-sleeved shirts). 

Now, I don’t know how impossible it is to plan, but I think it would be awesome if we had Heritage Day on a Friday or Saturday, with either Fall Fest or the MAC Block Party directly following the service events. 

Again, this would be very difficult to plan and execute, but it would be an excellent capstone to the entire day and would be a great way to have Moravian celebrate its heritage as a whole community. The barbeque and Lovefeast are serviceable as is, but I think having a much bigger celebration following the service projects would be much more enticing for students and would be a great way to strengthen our community.

Going off student reactions, Heritage Day definitely has ample room for improvement, and some changes need to be made in order for the event to not only engage students but also live up to Moravian’s long history of service.

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