Erin Flom, Guest Writer

The dictionary has always been a useful tool and resource for meanings of words, but some words have meanings that go beyond their definition.

This August, Pacific Lutheran University launched its new podcast “Open to Interpretation”. This faculty-developed podcast airs once a month, and features Professor Amy Young and various guests taking time to examine the meaning of words in depth.

The first episode of “Open to Interpretation” is centered around the word “advocacy.” Young and her featured guests posed questions about the real definition of the term and what that idea means to the students and faculty at PLU.

“That’s something that people talk about all the time,” Young said. “But…what does that even mean? What does it mean to be an advocate?”

Young chooses words that are “trending on campus or on social media or in conversation,” and whose meaning could have multiple definitions to multiple people and across disciplines.

“It’s a look into campus using media,” said Zach Powers, Manager of Media and Content for PLU and the producer of Open to Interpretation. “It allows alumni and future students a peek into life at PLU.”

“It also showcases our professors,” Powers added. “Most professors at PLU do not lecture as often as they would at other universities, but [would] rather have a conversation instead.”

Young wants to use “Open to Interpretation” to cultivate intellectual dialogue, but would also like to include an aspect of inclusivity and simplicity to the monthly show.

“[I’d] really like to keep it conversational and non-nerdy,” Young said.

The podcast also overlaps with Young’s scholarship, which examines how intellectuals engage outside of journals or books.

“I think this is something where … I can talk about issues that are important to me or to the community,” Young said. “And [I can] give kind of a platform for other faculty to practice being more community orientated, civically engaged, etcetera in a different way.”

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