Except for the T-shirt he wears proclaiming “I am Dave,” it would be hard to recognize David Farrell ’03 as the “Dave” who has given his name as the symbol for a campus Christian enlightenment campaign.
A coalition comprising six religious groups launched the campaign Sunday under the slogan, “Do you agree with Dave,” to revive and unify the Christian spirit on campus. While the movement has benefitted from widespread participation and debate, the barrage of signs have left many bewildered students instead asking who Dave is and questioning his intentions.
The week-long campaign will culminate with a Cross Campus rally Friday in which speakers, including Farrell, will testify on how their faith has bettered their lives. The campaign has taken Farrell’s name to give itself a human face.
“The name is not important,” Farrell said. “I’m just one Christian on campus.”
Farrell, a political science and religious studies major from Tennessee, is in Morse College and plays football.
Although Farrell wanted to keep details of his testimony private so curious students would attend the rally, chief organizer Scott Clarke ’02 said the speech will discuss Farrell’s discovery of Jesus Christ.
“I can tell you that he’ll be sharing about the time in high school that he came to see his need for Christ and then the events that led to his realization of his need for Christ in his life and then a little a bit about his life as a Christian since that time,” Clarke said.
Following the lead of religious groups at universities across the country which have run similar programs, Athletes in Action, the Yale Gospel Choir, Living Water, the Malaysian and Singaporean Association Bible Study, Yale Christian Fellowship and Yale Students for Christ have coordinated the week’s activities together and distributed blue and gold T-shirts for students who agree with “Dave.”
“I think we want to get as many groups involved as possible, and I think just to build that it was really good to see people be excited to do this,” said David Lam ’01, who belongs to Yale Students for Christ.
Lam, along with other organizers, has sat outside Commons this week to answer questions about the movement. Claire Chng ’01, who is a member of Students for Christ and MASA Bible Study, said she has received mixed responses, and students have mocked some of her friends.
“Today I’ve found people more passive and dismissing this as a Christian thing,” Chng said. “We’re here to provoke people into examining their faiths. I feel a negative reaction is better than no reaction.”
On a large “Do you agree with Dave?” poster on Old Campus’ Elm Street gate, vandals changed the slogan to “Do you agree with Dave Koresh?” A leader of a radical religious cult, Koresh and 79 of his followers died in 1993 after a long standoff with federal agents ended with a siege of their Waco, Texas, compound.
Organizers admitted that in the planning stages of the week they discussed concerns that some students might misinterpret the purpose of using Farrell’s name to represent their message.
John Levin ’04, who is Jewish, stood outside Commons yesterday and asked organizers to explain the movement. He said before speaking with student planners, he was concerned about the intentions of “Dave” and the purpose of the movement, but felt reassured upon learning the coalition chose Farrell as a random representative.
“I feel more comfortable with it, and I felt somewhat threatened by it [before],” Levin said. “I didn’t feel there was any pressure on me.”