Asbury students discuss the benefits and drawbacks of assigned chapel seats
By Ashley Walls
Not every Asbury student is happy with having to sit in a pre- assigned seat in chapel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Senior Josh Jones is one such student. “I don’t like it at all,” he said. “I never know my chapel buddies, and I like moving around.”
Sophomore Bailey Couch understands why it might be less distracting to sit by students other than your friends, but she agreed that choosing where she wanted to sit would be her prefer- ence.
“It would be nice to sit by your friends and have that option during chapel,” she said.
Nearby private colleges like Malone University in Canton, Ohio, and Union University in Jackson, Tenn., use a card-swiping system. At each exit, faculty and designated “swipers” swipe the students’ ID cards with a tiny handheld device that sends one chapel credit to each student’s account before they exit chapel. This means that students can sit by their friends and choose to sit however near or far from the stage they want to. They also never have to worry about getting caught texting or sleeping by their chapel checker.
Miriam Bonam, a Malone University graduate, finds the system efficient. “It’s quick and painless,” she said. “The lines get a little congested but not too bad… I much prefer seeing my friends in chapel.”
Should Asbury consider becoming more high-tech to track students’ chapel attendance? Or is tradition in Asbury’s best inter- est?
While card-swiping might be more technologically-advanced (and more expensive), the community aspect of chapel is inevitably gone if students always sit by the same students for the entirety of their collegiate experience.
Emily Shaw, a Union University sophomore, likes getting to swipe her card but also wouldn’t mind having an assigned seat.
“It would make me sit by somebody I wouldn’t know, and I might get to meet new people; but that’s just me, and I like doing that,” she said.
Shaw isn’t the only student who sees assigned seats as a poten- tial opportunity to make new friends. Jonathan Augsburger and Josh Morre are two Asbury sophomores who appreciate the way things are right now.
“I’d say I like assigned seats,” Augsburger said. If students were
allowed to pick their own seats, “I’d sit by the same people every time,” he said.
“You don’t have to worry about finding a seat,” Morre said. “I think [the card-swiping system] would be cool sometimes, but I’m cool with assigned seats.”
Sadie Grindstaff, a junior who transferred to Asbury her sophomore year, agrees and thinks assigned seats are good for new students.
“I think if we were allowed to get our own seats, we wouldn’t branch out as much and we’d probably stay in cliques,” she said. “Then there’d be those loners out there that wouldn’t have some- one to sit by that they knew.”
While there are many students who think assigned seats are good for students and still others who disagree with assigned seating completely, sophomore Ethan Barker sees the wisdom in both.
“Worship is worship, you know,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re around.”