Campus News

Bethel College women engage in annual B.A.B.E. week

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On the heels of the Bethel College men completing their annual DUDE week, the women of Bethel College are now engaging in a week of their own. This week, dedicated to spiritual growth and community building amongst Bethel women, is known as B.A.B.E. week (Be Authentic Be Empowered). Shupe Hall, Bethel’s oldest female dormitory, shares Oakwood’s passion for one of its main goals during B.A.B.E. week: ‘deeper connections through digital detox.’ Shupe Hall encourages an annual technology fast throughout B.A.B.E. week; however, Shupe resident director Elizabeth Studebaker explained that the dorm’s theme for the week is more than just withdrawing from the internet, social media or the opposite sex. “We tried to articulate a specific theme this year,” said Studebaker. “This year’s theme in Shupe is ‘live like you’re loved’.” The presence of B.A.B.E. week on Bethel’s campus has become quite apparent, but Studebaker believes the difference between Shupe and the other female dorms on campus lies in its approach to this weeklong event. “Each (dorm) tailors the events to the wants and needs of each individual dorm,” said Studebaker. “Shupe and Tuckey (Hall) each do ‘initiation’ leading into B.A.B.E. week, because most of the students in those dorms are freshmen and sophomores. Some of the other dorms will do things like go out to eat or do something in a smaller setting.” Some of the dorms will do combined events with other dorms, such as the campus wide hip-hop fitness event and the “Featherless Fiesta," which is a catered meal of smoked chicken for every girl on campus. “I think, in a lot of ways, we do want to have those unifying events,” said Studebaker, “because the more that we emphasize the differences, then the more it can turn into certain dorms only doing certain events, since they don’t want to steal other people’s events.” Junior Shupe resident assistant Jennifer Mroczek, was able to share her experience of B.A.B.E. week, both as a participant last year and someone in charge of planning it this year. “Last year, I just showed up to some of the events,” said Mroczek. “I didn’t realize how much went into something like [B.A.B.E. week]. We started planning right after we got back from Christmas break and talked about our goals and visions for the week. That’s when I got really passionate about it. I didn’t really have that last year, since it was more of an, ‘I’ll show up and stay for a little bit’ kind of thing.” As for Shupe’s schedule during B.A.B.E. week, Studebaker claimed that it’s a lot of really great things happening in a short amount of time. “Every day is different, and every day has something great for our community,” said Studebaker. In the mornings, Shupe residents are encouraged to participate in morning devotional breakfasts, also known as ‘donuts and devos.’ Shupe girls are also encouraged to join their dorm mates for lunch and dinner as a dorm every afternoon and evening. Other events during the week for Shupe include a self-image discussion in the Academic Center on Mon., hip-hop fitness in the gym on Tues. night, a ‘fries before guys’ panel (french fries and dorm-wide discussion on relationships), mattress surfing and an indoor slip-and-slide. For being an event that is so huge for Shupe Hall, Studebaker believes that the payoff for the girls’ hard work and time dedication is contagiously beautiful. “It’s something that people get so excited about that it tends to take away a lot of the pressure for the events,” said Studebaker. “I love that it’s something that (the female dorms) do together, but each place does it in their own ways. We meet for several weeks leading up to B.A.B.E. week, talking about what we want to happen and plan for it.” B.A.B.E. week has been following on the heels of DUDE week for the past few years now. Both DUDE week and B.A.B.E. week have their benefits that they bring to their specific dorms, however, Studebaker believes that a week for the guys and a week for the girls separately brings great things to this campus’ life. “I like how B.A.B.E. week and DUDE week can be focused for both men and women,” said Studebaker. “If they were to do both of the weeks together, then I feel like it might seem forced, like ‘everybody has to do it all at once.’ I think there’s something special that happens when a community is able to focus on one thing at a time and focus on the importance of community amongst women as opposed to community across the board.” As the week-long event comes to a close, both Studebaker and Mroczek strongly believe that B.A.B.E. week is affecting lives in Shupe Hall. “It’s a good time for us to celebrate that we are women, and girls are celebrating community in different ways,” said Mroczek. “We get to celebrate something special and celebrate who we are as women.” “It’s just really cool to see girls be unified and connected in community through time with each other, God and stepping away from different distractions,” said Studebaker. “It looks a little bit different each year, depending on the approach for the week, but I love the tradition and that we are a part of something big.”
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