In his February 1 column, writer PJ Aurora accused Grounds For Change of being a faction of “socially off-beat hipsters,” unwelcoming to crowds of a different genre. Why is it that a campus known for its diversity and unusual combinations is being pegged as socially unwelcoming? Surely, the contradictory statement regarding Grounds For Change is untrue. Countless times a day, I pass in and around Grounds For Change, and recognize two very prominent things: one, Grounds For Change is almost always packed with individuals of every background, and two, the diversity among the students, faculty, and occasional staff clustered around tables and sofas is blatantly apparent. Never have I seen some people sitting around a table and never could I imagine that people coming from various backgrounds and lifestyles would ever turn away another friendly face.
I chose Allegheny because when I walked onto campus during my first prospective visit, the social diversity of the small number of students that inhabit the campus immediately stood out. I saw athletes with theater kids, bookworms with their fraternity brothers, and sisters from every different sorority on campus residing with one another. Not a single person passed without saying hello and having a smile on his or her face.
Since I began my education here at Allegheny College, I have been confronted with nothing but excitement, enthusiasm, and kindness from everyone. To those of you who feel unwelcome in certain areas of campus, have you ever contemplated that the problem was not their willingness to accept you, but your willingness to broaden your horizons? I get that not everyone will fit in everywhere on campus, but that does not conclude that a group doesn’t want you there. We all have different friends, different views, and different expectations of what each group on campus does and what its members are like, but by no means should we ever base our opinions solely on observation and a “one-time meeting.” Ever hear of the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Maybe we should heed that advice and open up.