White T-shirts have been dotting the ACU campus in a movement called Beyond 31. Young women all over campus participate in this movement which focuses on modeling the woman described in Proverbs 31.
The movement was started two years ago in Gardner Hall as Project 31 until the Nelson Hall staff took over and renamed the movement Beyond 31.
Asia Todd, junior multimedia major from Thailand, said the name was changed because the daily life of the Proverbs 31 woman was not relevant to all women today. Instead, they decided to go “beyond the Proverbs 31 woman and focus on character.”
“Beyond 31 is about educating ourselves on what it means to be a woman of God in the 21st century,” said Elizabeth Koepke, junior political science and international studies major from Dallas.
The movement has now spread across campus and is involved with chapel and intramurals.
“It’s one of the biggest small group Chapels,” Todd said.
Beyond 31 Chapel meets in Nelson Hall on Thursdays.
Many of the girls involved are currently participating in a “vanity fast”. During this time, the girls wear white T-shirts for two weeks.
“Beyond 31 is rooted in Proverbs 31,” said Deanna Romero, freshman education major from Sioux Falls, S.D. “The white T-shirt revolution is a vanity fast mainly to remind ourselves that we are beautifully made in God’s image without make-up and fancy clothes, just the way we are. We want to find our identity in Him, not in society’s description of artificial beauty. Most girls, myself included, are giving up make-up, doing our hair and we are wearing white T-shirts for two weeks straight.”
Participants often give up makeup, social media, and meat among other things. Some participants also engage in new habits such as spiritual disciplines and exercise.
“This movement so far has shown me my insecurities,” said Sara Williams, freshman undeclared student from Abilene. “It has shown me that I know I’m beautiful and blessed when it comes to my appearance, but putting it into practice is what’s hard. I have to truly believe it and realize that I don’t need to find my worth in what others think about me and the way I look but I need to truly find my worth in the Lord.”
Some of the young men on campus got involved as well.
“A bunch of guys shaved their heads in support,” Todd said.
The movement is involved with different activities and has something for everyone.
“If you have an interest, there is going to be a pocket for you to go into,” Todd said.
“We formed service days in the Abilene community, a Chapel on Thursdays, the White T-shirt Revolution, intramural teams and movie nights,” Koepke said.
Every activity within the movement focuses on becoming a Godly woman. Even the intramural team focuses on not complaining and often bakes cookies for the opposing teams.
“My favorite part has been intramurals,” said Lauren Land, senior social work major from Prosper. “It has been a blast to play with a group of girls who just want to have fun and glorify the Lord using the many different gifts we have been given.”
Because the Chapels and meetings are held in Nelson, many of the participants are freshmen. However, there are many older students and even alumni that take part in this movement, as well as Nelson staff. Young or old, it is a meaningful experience for all.
“The most meaningful part of this movement to me,” Todd said, “is that I can have insanely intentional conversations with my residents.”
Todd said it gives her something to talk to her residents about. She gets to ask her girls and any girl she sees wearing a white T-shirt why she, individually, is wearing it.
“It made me get closer to the girls,” Todd said, “and the girls get closer to each other.”
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