Ozone breathes ‘Fresh Air’

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By Carina Sorrentino

This week Ozone House opened its doors for their second Fresh Air discussion this term, addressing the topics of sex and violence and the roles they play in our culture.

About a dozen students gathered around the living room during the event and the floor was opened by house member Gozzie Onyiuke ‘13 on the topic of violence in video games.

As the hour progressed, the group shared their thoughts on subjects of censorship in the media, and the ambiguity of sexuality, monogamy and war.

Justin Dempsey ‘14 stated, “As a country we are much more likely to censor the sexually explicit, and I think that is telling of our priorities.”

Through providing an open space for students to discuss issues that are present in everyday social life, there was a feeling of freedom and safety in the space for opinions to be shared.

During the course of the conversation, all students were able to share their opinions without facing ridicule or debate, merely stimulating the minds of their peers to think outside of the box.

In order to gain an outside perspective on the topic of sex and violence in our culture, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Viki Brooks provided some insight based on her spiritual background.

Expressing her support for the Fresh Air talks, Brooks shared her opinion that it is important for students to “understand our values and world views, even those that they don’t necessarily agree with.”

When asked about why she feels that sex and violence play such conflicting roles in modern American culture she responded, “I think that our care for our children has become overzealous, in that we protect children from what we are most afraid of. It is easy for us to understand violence, and sex is much more complicated.”

This statement by Brooks summarized the conclusion most of the students reached during the discussion.

Ozone resident Robert Meeson ‘13 explained that the Fresh Air talks began three years ago and their initial focus was environmental topics.

However, discussions have evolved to touch upon social awareness and student interactions as well.

Meeson stated that the goal of these talks is to “simply remind everyone that as students we have a responsibility to be thinking about what is happening in the world, how we fit into our society and that our feelings do matter.”

By tackling hot button issues during their Fresh Air talks, Ozone House is setting the stage for a new tradition that all students should be encouraged to attend.

 

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