The way we see our world can seem irrefutable. Like a puzzle of only black and white pieces, all put in their place. How could they fit any other way?
Until someone comes along and pulls it apart, arguing just the opposite of what you thought was nearly fact. Suddenly, they introduce shades of gray to your picture. Now, some of the gray pieces fit into your puzzle, while others have lost their shape, and everything you were certain of is no longer the case.
The world around us is full of these puzzles. Sociologists dedicate their lives to analyzing all of the pieces, or viewpoints, for a glimpse at the bigger picture. What happened between the black and white to create gray in the first place?
The University of Akron’s Sociology Club understands college is a time that students are brought together and may be introduced to an entirely new, diverse environment where everyone has vastly different stories to tell that have shaped how they see the world. Interpreting these new views can be confusing and difficult.
The Sociology Club welcomes students from all majors and walks of life to join them in discussions of current issues, events, and topics to gain new perspectives that will expand knowledge of their social environment.
For example, on March 22, 2018, the club discussed the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements to celebrate Women’s History Month. Both movements involve supporting those who have experienced sexual assault and ending sexual violence, according to metoomvmnt.org and timesupnow.com.
Students may be surprised by just how much they learn about themselves, too. “One of the things I love about sociology, in general, is that it helps you better understand how you relate to the world around you,” Nicole Wegman, Sociology Club president and treasurer, said. “So, even if you are not going into a sociology field, it is still incredibly applicable to your everyday life.”
The Sociology Club was founded fall of 2014 by several undergraduate sociology students who wanted a space where UA students could learn more about and actively participate in sociological discussions, Wegman said.
There is a wide range of topics covered, such as current social issues and events, basic sociology subjects, information about careers in sociology, and even research opportunities. The club hopes to expand their membership and will continue to welcome diverse students with many different viewpoints and stories to tell.
The club strives for a diversity-driven atmosphere and engages both sociology and non-sociology disciplines during discussions. “Even though we all share the label of ‘student’, we’re living in totally different lives and will end up in different places,” Megan Delong said, senior and director of programming for the student organization.
“Even the officers don’t have the same viewpoints, and a lot of us are different majors. Kristony, our secretary, is working toward a degree in biology,” Delong said.
Celebrating those differences by encouraging and respecting others’ opinions can help students to come together, relate, and learn from each other’s experiences in a way that a diverse college environment can allow.
Discussing one activity where the club learned about empathy, Rochelle Bees, the club’s vice president, mentioned she learned that she was not alone in certain parts of her life where she once felt she was. “I was able to grasp an understanding of what goes on in someone’s life, and how they got where they are in the first place.”
The Sociology Club meets every other Thursday from 6-7 p.m. in Student Union Room 312.
College can be a challenging time for students. Many are trying to figure out what life looks like for them after education and, equally as important, who they are as a person. What perspectives do they have on important issues? What are they interested in? What do they believe in? Life is already complicated enough.
Consider joining the Sociology Club for just one meeting, to possibly have some of those questions answered.