Allegheny needs collaboration

 

By Jinnie Templin

[email protected]

We’ll probably always complain about minor Allegheny irritants – the ridiculous work load, the less-than-ideal weather and how much money we spend to come here.

But far too often, I hear students complaining about serious issues, like housing, diversity, hate crimes, vandalism and theft, all of which have been major points of unrest during the past academic year.

There seems to be a disconnect somewhere. If you leave all the hard work for someone else, you might not like what they come up with.

So as easy as it is to sit around and bash the administration for screwing up your life, they’re not the only ones to blame.

We need to start acting as a community and collaborating in order to address the things about Allegheny that truly irk us.

If I were to go into President Mullen’s office and tell him that I’m sincerely disturbed with the recent hate crimes on campus, I’m sure he’d agree and sympathize with me. But while I might leave his office feeling momentarily placated, I haven’t really changed much.

Yes, it is important to communicate our concerns to administrators, but doing so without suggesting a solution to the problem doesn’t accomplish anything.

I might feel better, but everyone else who is feeling the way I am is still upset, and whatever happened is probably going to continue happening until we take meaningful action to put a stop to it.

I use the word “we” here not just to indicate the students, but administrators and students working together.

If students have problems, we’re tempted to think that we can’t fix them ourselves because eventually the big decisions rest on the shoulders of someone higher up.

And even when administrators recognize what some of the major issues are, they may come up with solutions that don’t necessarily address the aspects of these issues that we students find most irritating.

Just because you’re not being tested or writing a 10-page essay doesn’t mean every experience you have here is any less important than those you have in the classroom.

If you value your time here at all, you can’t rely on somebody else to make the decisions that influence the way you’re going to live the next four years of your life.

In Tippie, on the balcony above the reception desk, you’ll find these words: “The only owners of Allegheny College are the alumni. There is no city, state, or profession to worry about us. We are all there is. If we don’t do it, no one else will.” – David Hoag, ‘60.

Whether we’re ready to accept it or not, we are the future alumni of this college. It’s up to us, all of us, to make things the way we want them.

You can choose to coast through your years at Allegheny and ignore campus drama, but I don’t think I know anyone who has successfully been able to do this.

I do know students who have worked diligently to rectify some of Allegheny’s most upsetting aspects and incidents, and if you’re one of those students, I applaud you.

I don’t intend to insult anyone who isn’t in this previous category; rather, I want to suggest an alternative way to address problems that will hopefully make your time here more fruitful and enjoyable.

Allegheny’s not perfect and neither is life.

But if we want to make our school a better place, as cliché as that might sound, we all better damn well step up to the challenge and make the effort.

We’re a community of creative, logical and passionate thinkers, and we need to start acting like it.