by Kristen Egan
College truly is a land of its own. For four years, give or take, you’re on an accelerated path to the real world. Upon entry, you’re a scraggly high school student, and, upon exit, it is anticipated that you will be a mature, responsible human being. During your four years, you can either make the most of the environment around you and throw yourself into your community, or you can stay on the sidelines.
At Fordham Rose Hill there are over 130 student organizations sanctioned by the university, and there are even more that exist outside of Fordham’s funding, such as different online publications like The Rival, Odyssey and Her Campus. That means there are over 130 different ways to get involved.
In a lot of ways, college is the real world on training wheels. Just as all people with the right to vote should exercise their rights, and all people who have a voice should use it for those who are silenced, these same themes and opportunities are apparent on our campus.
I’ve noticed a lot of people on campus like to complain about issues they see with Fordham without taking any action to make change. For example, it’s seemingly futile to make complaints about entities like United Student Government (USG) or the administration without taking part in the opportunities for direct dialogue with these entities. We are given the opportunity to go to town halls and voice our concerns, but time after time it’s easier to wait until it’s too late and to just complain to our roommates.
Similarly, last spring students were disappointed by a controversy surrounding who the Spring Weekend concert headliner would be. The saying “classic Fordham” could be heard in every hallway, with little acknowledgement of the student organization, Campus Activities Board (CAB), that worked all year to plan the free event, or to USG, who is “committed to advocating for our peers and improving the student experience at Fordham University Rose Hill.”
Joining different clubs at Fordham was the best decision I ever made. I joined a family in B-52 of McGinley at The Ram, our student-run journal of public record; I joined a sisterhood based in service and seminar at Spire; I helped raise over $120,000 to help beat childhood cancer with Fordham Dance Marathon; and I met circles of people I would have never interacted with in any other way through WFUV and Theatrical Outreach Program (TOP).
The same students who complain about how there isn’t much going on on campus haven’t made enough of an effort to discover their community.
If college really is the real world with training wheels, then students should learn how important it is now to get involved in their community rather than wait for others to make the changes they want to see.
Go to club fairs, read flyers and show up to events. The worse thing that can happen is realizing you don’t enjoy an organization as much as you thought you would.
Students at Fordham have a great opportunity to pursue higher education. In so many ways we have a privilege that requires we latch onto our position and do something for others. Don’t grumble past bake sales of philanthropic clubs trying to raise money for worthy causes, don’t ignore social media posts about upcoming events on campus and don’t wait until it’s too late to make the change you want to see.
These behaviors are toxic in society, and if you get comfortable in the position of a passive citizenship, it will be that much harder to become an active global citizen.