Bethel women come together for B.A.B.E. Week

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Last week the Bethel guys celebrated Dude Week; this week was the girls’ turn. Many students gave up social media, others gave up TV or Netflix and some even gave up makeup to challenge themselves to be authentic with others.

"It was... probably my favorite week of the year," said freshman McKenna Liebenow, a double major in sign language and music. "It was amazing." Jessica Lyons, resident director of Tuckey Hall, kicked off this year's B.A.B.E. Week in chapel on Monday, and I had the opportunity to email her and ask her about the event. "The overall purpose (of B.A.B.E. Week) is to create space and opportunity for women to connect and go deeper with other (women)," wrote Lyons. "Our hope is that women take the B.A.B.E. Week acronym seriously- we hope they can be authentic and be empowered. We work towards this with events that engage and challenge women across campus." Lyons added that this year's theme is "Cheers to Her!", and focuses on supporting the women around us and seeing the good in them—finding our own value and making the effort to point out the value in others. I also emailed Jennifer Ochstein, assistant professor of writing, about the effect she sees B.A.B.E. Week having on students. "It seems to me that the students are more cohesive during B.A.B.E. Week," wrote Ochstein. "I love seeing students learn more about who we are individually and within the community of Christ... in my mind, B.A.B.E. Week challenges us to see each other as full-fledged, individual members with dignity and who are living, learning and working in unity within the Body of Christ." Ochstein went on that she believes B.A.B.E. week teaches a counter-cultural narrative that is "life-giving" to Bethel students.  Many of the students agree. "This week is definitely an enrichment of (Bethel's female community)," said freshman accounting major Allie Schweigert. "It's not only a good time to connect with others, but also a great time to develop your personal relationship with God." Freshman elementary education major Hannah Marshall loves how B.A.B.E. Week engages students that might otherwise hide in the background. "It brings a lot more people out,” she said. “I've gotten to talk to people that I don't normally talk to. So, it's been good and... building community." In closing, Lyons wrote a little bit about what B.A.B.E. Week means to her personally. "B.A.B.E. Week means so much to me,” she wrote. “It's a time for this campus to cheer each other on and put aside the distractions that hold us back from stepping into a relationship with people who are different than us. It's so cool for me to watch women show up at events, listen to a speaker or just sit around a dinner table and see them feel connected." If you missed any of the B.A.B.E. Week chapel sessions, you can listen to them on the Bethel College Chapel Podcast here. (Photo Credit: Bethel College)
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