One of the many difficult questions students face in university has become, “Which club will look best on my resumé?”
Club executives are scrambling to solve a similar problem: how they should advertise to get students to join their club.
In the midst of deciding which club would look best, we have overlooked the way things really are. We have come to value what clubs appear to do over what they really do. As a consequence, the pressing social issues that many clubs purport to address remain as untouched as ever.
You do not need to look far beyond the elaborate trifolds of Clubs Week or the cluttered bulletin boards of campus hallways to understand how important advertising is for University of Calgary clubs. Luckily, the Students’ Union requires that each club have an official constitution so that clubs do not lose sight of their real purpose. In any constitution, however, you will always find more airs and pretence. It is standard, and even encouraged by the SU sample constitution, for each club to have a misleading array of executives such as vice-president academic, VP co-operation, VP administration and VP dissimulation.
If you dig beyond this second layer of affectation and finally arrive at the level of reality, all you will likely find are pizza parties and movie nights. Occasionally, a club will meet for more serious discussions about the yearly report to the SU, new amendments for the constitution, the election of new VPs or, in short, protocol for sustaining the illusion of an official “SU Sanctioned Club.” Some people call this resumé building. I prefer the term hypocrisy.
It is not that I am against pizza parties and movie nights. The problem is that clubs are lying about what they do. A more serious problem arises when clubs who are supposed to be engaged in social activism adopt this resumé-building attitude.
No one can complete a university degree today without learning about the social problems that our society creates and is affected by. Some of these issues are serious matters of life and death, of survival and mass extinction.
Students need to reassess their goals now more than ever. Rather than build resumés, we need to build our imaginations, build our consciences, build a community and take real action. If we really work at solving some of our problems, not only will we become closer to building a sustainable lifestyle, but we will find that our resumés will build themselves. Then, when our future employer interrogates us about our extra-curricular activities, our discussions won’t be limited to pizza parties and movie nights.