Students should participate in all events, not just fun ones


Jacob Waring News Editor

I do not understand why people do not participate within their respective communities — whether it is not voting in municipal elections, rallying for issues or, say, participating in Student Open Forums at Southern.

Southern held open forums for the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and some forums had literally no student representatives. The Dean of Arts and Sciences forums barely had a better showing with students.

I get it, those positions are probably ones less seen by students than, say, a professor or a facility member you would see daily. Yet those positions, depending on the vision of the candidates, can impact students positively or negatively. Whoever fills a particular role impacts the very culture on this campus.

So, it boggles my mind that students did not really attend those forums. The university blocks out a time for students to have their voices heard and students respond with crickets. I find it unacceptable.

I understand that between work, classes and other obligations, some students would not be able to attend. It would be impossible for the school to create a schedule that is accommodating to a student population that is roughly over 8,000. Still, one could argue that perhaps the university should have picked better times or publicized the forums with more advance notice.

At the same time though, I have seen students attend the “fun” events, and show up for guest speakers of some metric of fame. Students can make time for homecoming festivities, witnessing Alex Morgan speak or get free ice-cream handed out by President Joe Bertolino. Yet, they do not show up to forums that the university sets up to hear the comments, questions and concerns of the students.

If students do not participate, show up or even act like they care to attend these forums, then we risk the university not holding student forums. It is hard to have a counter argument if students are literally not showing up.

Outside of that bubble of students, who in sense are obligated to be there, every day students should be actively participating. If you stand for nothing then what are you willing to fall for? You are paying money into this school one way or another. Would you not want to have a say or have your voice be heard? The school is giving us, the students, a chance for our voices to echo the halls of Southern, yet Southern students are throwing away their shot.

Be loud, be participatory, have this school hear your voice as if we are lions roaring to be heard in the savanna. Instead, we are acting like owls who refuse to fly even if our wings are clipped and tethered to the ground. Students are squandering their chance to be heard.

Look, if you think I am wrong, then prove it with action. The next time this university holds a student forum, attend it. The next time this school provides a platform for students to voice their say, then crowd that platform until they are deafened by your voices. I want to be proven wrong. I want students at Southern to be active participants in this community.

At this rate, when the time comes when our voices really need to matter, it may then be too late.

Do not let it be too late.

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