Pursue liberal arts outside the classroom

Martin Camacho

Much has been said about Midwestern State University being the only public liberal arts institution in Texas, and you may have heard rumblings of the internal efforts to enhance that experience.

Arguably, most students will experience the liberal arts in the classroom through the quality and rigor of their academic programs. However, limiting your liberal arts education to the classroom can be shortsighted. Several publications have cited how students are learning and spending much of their time outside the classroom. Taking advantage of a full liberal arts education that includes off classroom options needs to be emphasized. Thus, the options that are offered and the choices that students make with their time outside the classroom are important.

MSU offers a good number of outside-the-classroom opportunities for students to continue developing numerous interests. I would like; however, to make the case to consider attending artistic events as a relevant option.

Each year, the Fain College of Fine Arts offers more than 80 individual events in music, art, theater and mass communication. If you have not attended one or have limited your attendance to just a few, you are missing out.

In today’s world, our commercial-driven society has led us to believe that concerts, art exhibitions, theater plays and documentaries are primarily entertainment. Indeed, artistic events can be entertaining, but our purpose is very different from just that. MSU fine arts events are in the business of communicating some of the greatest ideas created by human kind, conveying expression of the deepest feelings from the human spirit, delivering alternative views of traditional and contemporary issues and changing the world. The threshold that we aim to reach with the arts is much higher. The words Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote in 1776 seem to be as valid now as they were then: “We live in this world in order to learn industriously and, by exchanging our ideas, to enlighten one another and thus endeavor to promote the sciences and the fine arts.”

Universities provide a safe space for students to be challenged with ideas, and artistic events are no different. I invite all students to take advantage of this unique opportunity in your life. This is part of your liberal arts education 2.0, without the pressure of working for a grade; just for the pleasure of discovering more. Did I mention that most of these events are free to MSU students? Well, that just sweetened the offer, I hope.

Martin Camacho is the dean of Fain College of Fine Arts.

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