Editorial: Culture is more than just an umbrella term



As you may have noticed, The Villanovan is missing two of its major sections. Starting this semester, we are combining the previously known “Features” and “Entertainment” sections into one all-encompassing section titled “Culture.”

In the context of our paper, we are defining the Culture section as “the complete and impartial coverage of significant events either taking place on campus or important to the Villanova community with a particular emphasis on entertainment, arts and human interest, along with miscellaneous entertainment items such as horoscopes and ‘Coffee Break.’”

This definition, however, is one of many. It is our attempt to enter into a larger conversation on what culture is and the important role it plays in our community. In fact, we believe culture functions in an interesting way—it breathes life into our campus and brings students together despite any underlying differences. This is why we have chosen to highlight it in the paper and want to emphasize it as a section with as much significance as all of the others in the paper. 

Reporting on campus news, expressing student opinions and covering our sports will always be crucial to our production, but without talking about culture we would be missing a huge part of what Villanova is.

Another commonly accepted definition of culture is “the things we do and the things we make.” With this in mind, we challenge you to think about all the “things” we do as students. We study, we collaborate, we perform, we teach, we lead, we play, we cheer, we support, we protest. The list could go on. Now think about all of the “things” we create. First, there are the concretes. The projects, the music, the events, the pictures. Even this paper is a perfect example of something tangible we produce. Then there are the abstracts. We create spirit, we create home, we create personality, we create passion. 

Reframing our new section in this way provides us an opportunity to further think about all of these things we do and create, and what they say about us as a whole. What movies we’re watching, what music we’re listening to and what we’re doing with our free time all work to narrate our values. The contents of culture capture our beliefs and desires as a generation living in a specific time period. Culture is a permanent word but it is always changing. What is culture today might be different tomorrow.

For example, every year The Villanovan covers Made in America. On the surface, one might perceive this as the same article written over and over again. It is quite the opposite, however. Depending on what artists are performing, what celebrity guests show up and what the student reactions are, the story is always different. Every year is insightful in a new way because it not only explains the events of the day, but it also highlights the parts of it we believe to be the most relevant to us as students today.  

Made in America is just one example of something that makes up our current culture. The list of things that fit into this category is endless. These aspects of campus are often overlooked, however, because they are not the most hard-hitting and controversial topics. We want to direct your focus to culture because despite the lackluster connotations that come with its name, it plays an integral of shining a light on who we are therefore  deserves more than just a skim-through.