By Quinn Heinbaugh

At the conclusion of the first week of classes on Friday, January 29, Principia College President John Williams, Dean of Academics Meggan Madden, and Dean of Students Maya Dietz hosted a town hall meeting to discuss current developments and upcoming events. They were joined by seniors Elliot Matthiesen and Sarah Ungerleider, who are student body president and vice president, respectively.

Ungerleider talked about this year’s Winter Convocation ceremony, which will take place remotely via YouTube on Friday, February 5 at 1:00 p.m. CDT. This year’s theme is “Growth in Grace,” and the event will feature four student speakers who will discuss topics such as Christian Science, feeling overwhelmed, and character growth.

Williams spoke briefly about enrollment at Principia. He struck down the rumor that the college had opened its enrollment to all students, and confirmed that the pilot admissions program remains in effect under guidance from the Board of Trustees. He also explained that both liberal arts and faith-based institutions are currently facing pressure to keep their enrollment numbers up. 

Williams cautioned members of the community against labeling students either as “Christian Scientists” or “not Christian Scientists,” as this could create division within the community. He recognized that the amount of “traditional” Christian Scientists is shrinking quickly while the demographics of those in the religion has expanded. As a result, practice of Christian Science has become more diverse in terms of race, class, and gender identity. 

Williams insisted that Christian Science is the foundation of Principia. Though he recognizes that some within the community disagree with him, he maintained that the institution has approached all of its activities from a Christian Science perspective, and that is what makes Principia valuable.

The meeting concluded with admissions marketer Steph Case presenting the new Principia app. Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, this app enables Principia faculty, staff, and students to communicate on a platform designed specifically for them, rather than using Facebook. Case reassured the community of the security of the app and explained that the data being tracked is related to how many people have downloaded the app, along with what tiles have been selected.