It is a fairly common complaint on campus that our student body is apathetic. A customary claim made in Student Association elections is we need more student involvement. Most people that know about campus would agree it would be a much better place with increased student involvement.
Without meeting this goal we continuously set for our school, year after year, the question stands. Why aren’t more students participating?
One theory is that the students couldn’t care any less about happenings on campus. They don’t want to be involved beyond classes and all they want to do is party and sleep while doing as little work as possible to get by and still collect their diploma.
While this may be true for a select few students, it would be a claim that is hard to prove for all of campus. People in a college setting are generally there because the atmosphere of learning and doing is in some way attractive to them. In other words, each student has potential to be an integral part of campus life, given that opportunities arise that spark their interests.
The second theory is that the campus may not provide the opportunities for a student to be motivated to participate. The school simply doesn’t have either the right kind or adequate number of programs for the current (and past) occupants.
Well, if you’ve been on an official campus tour and spoken with one of the tour guides, they will assure you this is not the case. There are over a hundred student organizations on campus, and if a club is not in place you can start one yourself.
So the student is motivated and the club is either functioning or it can be. So what’s missing?
It seems that if you look at the two pillars on which the system works and both of the pillars are capable of holding up the structure under the right circumstances, the focus should shift. It may not be an issue with the students or the student organizations, but possibly the environment.
And for the highly awaited third theory, student space on campus has been another heated topic on campus. Sure, clubs have the Campus Center and the Point, but aside from small offices or cubicles, clubs don’t have a space of their own which is inclusive for all of its members. For general meetings, clubs always have to rent out a room that is used daily for academic purposes.
It’s not that the students here are lazy, or that the opportunities aren’t present; it’s that the connection between these two things haven’t met its potential. Given the right setting, students will join organizations and the campus will thrive.