Readers’ Forum: Oct 13th

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Concerns about campus safety

I recently read the article, “BYU grad present at Oregon college shooting,” by Stacie Faulk (Oct. 2, 2015). In the article, Faulk reports that campus police have the Y-alert system in place to notify students of a campus emergency.

I am glad that they have this but I am concerned about a possible hole in the system. It has to do with the poor quality of connectivity in some parts of campus, such as the basement levels of many buildings like the JFSB, HBLL, ESC, CB, etc.

In the underground level of the JFSB cell phone signals are lost – almost completely. I can’t count the times I have tried and failed to contact my wife’s cell phone while she was in class or lab in the bottom of that building, and we use Verizon, which should be one of the strongest signals available. Nonetheless, any missed call notifications, voicemails or text messages don’t ever reach her until she resurfaces out of the basement.

If I can’t contact her, how will the Y-alert system? Through email? I doubt it. Not only is there no cell signal, the WiFi is very spotty. Furthermore, she, like many others, doesn’t have her inbox open constantly so a Y-alert via email isn’t effective either.

I do not doubt that the students and faculty in the bottom of the JFSB, or similar locations on campus, won’t ever find out about a campus emergency. I am only afraid that it will be too delayed and maybe too late.

— Mark Runolfson

Provo

Saying hello

Hello! Zdravstvuyte! ¡Hola! Ahn-nyong Ha-se-yo! Bonjour! These are all common greetings familiar to the 20,401 returned missionaries now at BYU. Missionaries who struggled with a difficult language at the beginning of their time in the field may have felt saying “Hello” was their only way to truly help. Perhaps one could not say everything they felt but a smile and a greeting helped the new missionary feel like they were doing something to improve another’s life, if only in a small way and if only for a short moment.

But something interesting happens when these once kind and open representatives of Christ return to their native land. While one could hear a “Hello,” at BYU in a hundred different languages, it’s rarely heard in our native language of English. “Hello,” and other greetings, even just a smile, seem to be something that, while once given freely, have become reserved only for close friends and family. How did this happen? Have we simply forgotten the English form of this simple greeting, or are we becoming more cold and closed-off to our fellow man as the flame of our missions dies down?

While it may seem absurd and while it is not even openly admitted by many here at BYU, it is a common-held belief that anytime someone tries to talk to another person it is because they are being diligent in their search for an eternal companion. “Good morning,” is 1. Recognizing the existence of another human being and 2. A wish expressed by a child of God to another child of God that he or she have a good morning. It’s possible that the act of kindly expressing your desire that another person have a good morning could, in fact, help them have a good morning. Or maybe it could even help them in unexpected and incredible ways—we’ve all heard the mission stories of people who gained interest in the church because a missionary greeted them warmly. Many of these stories end with a tearful description of a baptismal service for that family; yet, the same missionary who offered a simple greeting that changed the eternal course of another’s life is often unwilling to try and do the same once he or she steps foot on campus.

I hope that these symptoms of disinterest towards our spiritual siblings do not have their roots in a much deeper problem. But I also hope that while some of us have half-forgotten our native English, that we’ve at least not forgotten the language of our Savior: love. A love that can be expressed in something as simple as a smile and the word, “Hello.”

— Rand Hawk

Gilbert, Arizona

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