Secrets of success and failure

By Jared Lorenz

April 16, 1999: possibly the largest orgy of unabashed debauchery in U of C history. BSD. Several thousand students consume an unfathomable amount of beer in an incredibly short time. People are sociable, involved, excited. There is electricity in the air.

March 26, 1999: As many as 1,800 students are mobilized to fight tuition increases. Protesters show up on the morning of the board of governors meeting and raise bloody hell. For the first time in 10 years, the university decides not to raise tuition by the maximum amount.

The most frequent comment I receive as an elected official is that ‘nothing exciting ever happens on campus.’ When I hear this, I always ask, "well then, what do you want to see?" Most people respond with something like " More stuff!" A nebulous answer, at best. If it’s my job to serve and represent you, I’m not going to get very far just doing ‘stuff’

I have two simple requests: Give input, and participate. As much as both of the above events were great, more people came out for BSD. last year than for the tuition battle. If the amount of people who complain about tuition actually showed up for the protest last year, we might have done even better.

Complaining is a very popular exercise, especially on campus, but it is not a particularly productive one. Instead, give actual input. Get involved, somehow. Participate.

Really. It’s that simple. All you need to do is find what’s out there and become a part of it. There’s only two steps to making things happen.

Step 1: Give your input to somebody. If you think there’s nothing on campus to do, then either make something to do, or talk to somebody who can make something to do. It could be as simple as coming to the su office or going to the campus media, and making your suggestion there.

Step 2: Participate. Last Friday, the su and Athletics threw a tailgate party on the south lawn, complete with cheap beer, great bands, and beautiful weather. The reason we held the party? All summer, rez students, athletics students, other students have been saying to me ‘why don’t we have a BSD. party at the start of the year? Other schools have them.’

So we organized one. The result? Maybe 100 people trickled in and out in 4 hours. None of those 100 people were the ones who have been talking to me all summer asking for the damn event. Hey! I can’t serve and represent you if you don’t even get involved in the events you ask for! Complaining about student apathy doesn’t do anything about it. To fight apathy, you actually have to do something. If you complain but don’t do anything about it, you’re being useless and lazy.

If it pisses you off to be called lazy, great! Do something about it. If it doesn’t piss you off, then shut up and stop complaining. I sure as hell don’t want to hear about it if all you’re going to do is sit there and bitch.

There is an unbelievable amount of activity on campus at any given time. Even in the middle of the night, students, somewhere, are toiling away, at NUTV, CJSW, the Gauntlet, studying, working, humping, whatever. Doing ‘stuff’ These students aren’t complaining that ‘nothing ever happens on campus,’ because they’re the people that make things occur. And if they are complaining, at least they have the right to–because odds are, they’re working to change what they don’t like. You create opportunities for yourself.

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