By Andrés Oswill
Friends, classmates, Bearkittens, we each have four years here to make a difference. Four years to be involved, change practices we dislike and generally improve Willamette.
Coming into my fourth year here, I’m acutely aware of how much I have done and how much I have failed to do. I have been involved and made an impact in countless ways, but what sticks out to me most are the times I didn’t act.
As students, we have a plethora of opportunities to get involved; we have numerous chances to make our voices heard. While the resources to do these things could be publicized more aggressively, some of the responsibility for the shortcoming of inactivity does come back to us for not seeking them out.
There are over 100 clubs, groups for every interest on campus and ways for students to form new groups when they’re interested.
Try going to the Office of Student Affairs on the second floor of the Putnam University Center – talk to the leadership consultants. Ask the student leaders who are paid to be a resource and help guide you through the labyrinth of University administration.
I’m not saying that every student is morally required to become more involved; the quintessential Willamette student is overcommitted and spread too thin, always on the verge of a meltdown. This isn’t about every student taking on more, but about every student finding a balance.
If issues on campus are important to you, prioritize them. If you think that your student leaders aren’t representing you well, challenge them.
If you feel like this University is not doing enough to support you, chastise it. My fellow students, this is our university, and we have the ability to take as large of a role as we care to.
It is very easy to fall into the familiar rut of criticizing problems, complaining about the way things are done, and saying you could do a better job if you had the chance. I know how easy it is because I do it all the time.
Fight that urge, Bearkittens; step up to play a greater role on our campus.
Apply to be a student on a standing committee in the fall. Write to your ASWU Senator to tell them how you feel about how they’re representing you. Work with fellow students to suggest alternatives to aspects of campus that you do not like.
When you see a survey asking what locked doors you’d like to see unlocked or what your thoughts are on Campus Safety’s lockdown policy, respond to it! When an effort is made to reach out to us, we should meet the University halfway.
We can make a difference.
If four years is enough time for a president to lead the nation, then four years is enough time for us to make an impact on Willamette.
We have the power, Bearcats – we can make this University an amazing place, but only if we make it a big enough priority.