I’m not sure when the trend began, but I remember picking up on it at the end of my sophomore year. There were rumors of dropping numbers in a number of on campus organizations, from the fraternities and sororities to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
I wasn’t quite sure how bad it was at the beginning, but upon returning to Capital after a semester long medical absence, the decline in numbers started to become clear when JJ. Price and I started campaigning for President and Vice President of the student body.
The more that I began to visit our organizations, the more I started to notice a decline. Something that every single student on our campus should see as a concern.
When I was a first-year, I remember being impressed by the amount of campus life and opportunities that the university offered. Most of the organizations had a very defined culture and I immediately felt welcomed into a lot of them.
But as I’ve gotten older, that seems to have taken a disturbing change. Many organizations are now worried looking forward to next semester and some may even die.
The problem is taking place because people simply are not coming. The Pride organization that welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like home my first year now has dwindling numbers, as do many of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) organizations that add an important and diverse voice to our student body.
Our fraternities and sororities (which I will add that I am not a part of) have also have seen some alarming decline in numbers. I will not speak for them, because I am not, nor have ever been, affiliated with them. I will, however, take the liberty to point out that unless the attendance in some of these organizations rises this semester, they may not be around for students in the future. And that is just sad.
Here’s the deal: you should care about this. For a lot of reasons, but very specifically because student organizations are the lifeblood of any college or university. They teach skills, allow students to meet friends, and often maintain student grades and retention rates.
Being involved in college may seem like a lot of pointless drama, but it doesn’t have to be. Not if you cultivate a culture that encourages students. This is the whole point of organizations.
But they’re also an important part of giving our students a voice and having a conversation about our beliefs, especially in the case of the ODI and political organizations. College is where students learn how to do community organizing around topics they care about. Without that, you’re losing a massive part of the college experience and doing a disservice to the greater community.
I do understand that most of our students have jobs and busy lives outside of college. I do understand that life is hard and most of us have a lot going on. But while that is an explanation for not being involved on campus, it is hardly an excuse.
You should care about this place that you live, learn, and thrive in as well as the other people here. We are all busy. We will all always be busy. But making time for your community is a skill that you should cultivate and enjoy.
Now, here’s what you can and should do: Do you identify with an organization on our campus? Have you not been going to their meetings? You should go. You should find out who they are and where they meet.
You should take the time out of your day to find a cause that you actually care about and do something about it other than scrolling on Twitter in between classes. Why? Because if you think, which I know most of you do, that our world is in a bad place right now, rather than sitting around and complaining about it, you could get involved and make a small change in our community. You could learn more about it and make our campus a better place for everyone.
You could show that you actually care, which is more than enough.