As the new editor-in-chief of this paper, it falls upon me to carry on the “Your World Today,” column started by previous editor-in-chief Troy Okum and continued by my predecessor, Jenna Wise, to continue discussing topics of importance to Shippensburg University and its community.
I have covered around 50 stories, excluding reviews and commentaries, in my tenure at The Slate. Most of the time, these stories required me to meet new people and interview them. Believe me when I tell you I have met some of the best and brightest people at this university who will go on to do extraordinary things when they leave this place.
But a recurring theme is that no matter how many great student leaders emerge from each class, there are droves of other students with no affiliation within the university. These students coast by without ever joining a student group, and it harms themselves and the university.
We see it in campus media, where groups like The Slate or SUTV or WSYC can never find enough hands to distribute the load. It is true that it makes it that much more impressive that we put out the quality of work we do, however I can’t help but ask myself how much more we could do if we had eager peers who wanted to come help us provide information and entertainment to this campus.
It isn’t a problem exclusive to my major. However, this spring I was disappointed to learn that of the five positions on the Student Government Association’s Executive Rules Committee, three candidates ran unopposed and the other two were races between two candidates. For the senatorial elections, six positions had two candidates, seven had one, and five positions had no candidates running for them when the senators delivered their speeches. I have faith that the candidates elected or appointed to the positions will do their jobs and do them well, however it goes to show the lack of interest the student body has in advocating for themselves and their classmates.
This list goes on and on. No matter what story I cover, I see it everywhere: Student organizations all struggle to recruit new members. And it is a shame, because student groups are the cornerstone of the community of this campus. From SGA to campus media to groups related to the arts to Greek Life and beyond, we, the students, make Shippensburg University the great institution it is.
I am a very firm believer in grassroots movements to spur change. It doesn’t matter how competent an administration is at implementing change — a university’s culture and environment cannot improve unless the students are involved in that process.
It just cannot happen from the top-down. All students here have a stake in this game, and everyone has a reason to want to better the university, whether it is by becoming SGA president or playing the third tree from the left in a theatre production. We live here and spend our money here and (hopefully) learn a thing or two by the time we leave, if all is working.
I implore all students reading this to leave their dorms, turn off the Netflix and put down the Xbox controllers to find a group to be involved in. It doesn’t matter if it is a musical ensemble, student government, or even campus media (The Slate is hiring!). Do your part to help develop the culture of this community. Do your part to contribute to making this university a place worth coming to.