Hundreds of posters around campus, a Facebook page, an anonymous blog and giant easels in the Sunken Garden suddenly appeared last week. Within a week, the phrase “Love/Hate” was all over the College of William and Mary. The culmination of the student-run project, a concert in the Crim Dell meadow, took place Tuesday. While many students recognize the name and flood of posters, not all students understand exactly what the Love/Hate organization does.
“[The organization is] about trying to provide a forum for open conversations and honest conversations about Christianity and some of the faults that people see with it,” co-founder Austin Cole ’10 said. “It’s also about some of the ways that Christians haven’t lived up to their own call.”
Love/Hate was started by students from the College’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries. Inspired by discussions on other campuses, the group wanted not only to unite Christians on campus, but also to invite people of all faiths to come out to discuss religion.
“We didn’t want it to be about any one ministry on campus, so we enlisted the help of Baptist [Collegiate] Ministries, Intervarsity [Christian Fellowship] and Chi Alpha,” co-founder of Love/Hate Seth Drewry ’12 said. “Those are just a few, definitely not all. We went to every ministry hoping to get everyone involved.”
The project was separated into two parts. The first was a community-wide discussion using various media. The Facebook page, blog and large easels all had sections devoted to different subjects, and students were invited to respond to each subject with what they loved or hated about them. Topics included the College, God, government, religion, friends, family, dating, Jesus and church.
“I loved seeing everyone that was able to take part,” Cole said. “Even if there were hurtful things, I knew it’s what we needed to hear — the truth.”
The second part of the project took place during the concert, as campaign organizers responded to the comments that most affected them. While the earlier part of the project was aimed toward unbiased discussion a variety of topics, members of Love/Hate focused on their ideas of Christianity in this part. Members stressed that open discussion was the main goal of Love/Hate.
“A lot of times when you see stuff like this, Christians want to convert people,” Drewry said. “And while we do feel it’s important to share our faith, this is just to get discussion started and meet people.”
The concert featured local bands N3 and Lucky Robot, as well as Christian a cappella group One Accord. Love/Hate members said they were pleased with the success of the concert.
“We didn’t have a huge crowd, but people would stop by, read their responses, listen to the bands or talk to someone,” Drewry said. “We had a lot of people do that and that was a success — just getting the attention and being able to talk.”
Beyond the concert, members of Love/Hate were happy to see that their goal of fostering community discussion on campus with other students was a success overall for the club and the community.
“We had so many people writing responses and discussions. I think that’s one of the great things about William and Mary: People actually care,” Amanda Lewis ’12 said.
For the most part, the feedback was positive from fellow students. Although some members said they are unsure about the future of the Love/Hate organization as a club at the college, many are pleased with what the club has been able to achieve so far in the college community. on campus.
“I think we have been successful in being able to talk to people about how we are not perfect and we recognize and apologize for that,” Drewry said. “[We] are willing to be real about our faith and talk to others about it and their problems or impressions about it.”