Opinions
Allison Cully

Editorial: Parting shots

Booze-fueled notes from a self-styled sage

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Editorials at this time of year are always a parting shot fired by the Editor-in-Chief at something they feel like bitching about or an attempt to impart some sort of wisdom on readers as they prepare for a day of drunken merriment at BSD.

I decided to combine the two: nothing fucking changes. This final editorial has been used a few times to attempt to draw the eyes of an often inattentive administration. Quality of education has been a consistent problem. Undergraduate students (or at least those that write Gauntlet editorials) don't feel like admin is paying enough attention. This hasn't changed and likely won't change in the short time we spend at this university as students.

Surveys don't seem to matter. You can say whatever you want, but there will always be ways to second-guess the numbers, question the methods and selectively read the data.

Protests don't matter. Apparently they aren't an effective way of getting administration to listen to what we want (except when they take away our rights to use credit cards -- inconvenience just pushes it a little too far), so the Students' Union abandoned that for writing long reports and setting targets that administration agrees to, but will likely never follow through on.

The problem is that we're sitting here bitching at our overlords, while at the same time dropping over $5,000 a year into their coffers. The boat is full of potentially devastating water, but there's always enough effort made to keep it afloat; it's never gotten bad enough that we're going to jump ship and take our money with us.

When we finally arrive at our destination on the shore of a new land called the "Real World," we can do damage by refusing to give to an institution that never seemed like it cared in the first place.

So what does matter? Why am I here? Why are you here? Thankfully, despite being flawed in many ways, there are a lot of great things about the University of Calgary voyage.

The students. I've met many more great people and great friends in all manners of different paths than I ever have or likely will again.

The culture. It doesn't exist in the campus-wide manner that it does at other schools, but the core group of people that are involved care and are having a good time doing it. Unless we significantly increase the number of students who live on campus the U of C will never have the same school spirit as eastern schools like Queens, but we do have people who care and who go out to the Den on Thursday, Dinos games on the weekend and take part in the many clubs on campus.

Finally, the opportunities. Besides giving me a soap box to drunkenly spew belligerence from (such as this Scotch-fueled editorial), the Gauntlet has afforded me many opportunities I don't believe I would be able to duplicate elsewhere. This is just one of the many avenues students can travel. There's CJSW and NUTV (U of C is the only campus in Canada to have a volunteer run radio station, television and newspaper and, incase you didn't know, the media controls what you think, so you really should consider getting involved somehow -- also, these aren't the droids you're looking for). There's many varied large and established clubs. And there's even the Students' Union. Though they may be a bunch of politicking assholes too focused on debating their election poster sizes and own salaries instead of issues that actually affect students, they're generally alright people.

School is important, but if you're not entirely sold on why you're taking that Poli-Sci or English degree, perhaps you should be out exploring the different paths that the U of C offers. As cheesy as it is, university is what you make it and the majority of that experience is outside of the classroom, outside of the library and not back at home scanning people's Facebook pages. It's at club BBQs, the Den on Thursday night, Dinos games, at pubs and coffee shops with your peers and inside the offices of clubs, the Students' Union and the Gauntlet.

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Comments

While the university experience is what you make it, the sad fact is that with no strong campus culture the experience at the U of C is very generic. While I belong to a campus club and have many friends, I can't help but feel I could have gotten a similar experience at just about any institution in Canada. Where is the unique U of C experience? For what reason should others attend the UofC and not another university? These are the questions that need to be asked, and are not easily addressed (although increasing residence size on campus would be a good first start).
Unfortunately the administration sees a unique experience as being equal to new expensive facilities (ie the poorly explained 'digital' library) and grand expansions (such as the proposed downtown campus). The SU is not much better, as they are largely ineffective at dealing with the administration and are perceived by many as being self promoting individuals who care more about how being on the SU adds to their resumes than how they may positively effect the student experience. The key to improving the UofC experience is left up primarily to the students themselves, and until we realize this nothing is likely to ever change.

Get ready for more of that in the real world, David. All people care about is themselves. How can I fit into this organization, do nothing and make a ton of money? Boat rockers and complainers are quickly gotten rid of. Human beings are hideous creatures. Selfish, corrupt and worse than animals. Nothing ever changes, and no one answers or takes responsibility for anything. Maybe that sounds nihilistic, but it's the truth. The sad truth.