Sunday, May 10, 2009

Do Something

Back during my brief and eventful tenure as a Diamondback columnist, I had a column idea that had rattled around my head for a while. Because of the tone I wanted to take with the column, I never quite polished and submitted it, but I still think the general sentiment was valid. The opening line was something along that lines of "At least half the students at Maryland are pretty worthless." And then I excoriated the student body for their lack of involvement in student activities or anything on campus beyond their studies. The way I had figure it, at least half the student population was spending a lot of their time outside of classes sitting on their asses, and while there are a lot of students who have other greater time commitments (those paying their way through school and student athletes, for example) there are a whooooole lot of students who have no good reason not to get involved.

Although I probably would have changed the tone, in retrospect, I still believe that it doesn't take a lot to get a lot done. Take one of the most visible organizations on campus, The Diamondback itself. The paper has a staff of probably around 50 (Adam can correct me if I'm way off here, but it's an estimate). A dedicated group of 25 or 30 students could absolutely get a competing publication up and running. If there's one thing I heard repeatedly from journalism majors it was that they hated the Diamondback. It's a shame they have never banded together to create a valid rival.

Then there are community organizations. Although I sometimes felt frustrate with what was accomplished during my time with MaryPIRG, I think all of the folks I knew in the organization had their hearts in the right place and did the best they could with a very thin number of volunteers. A doubling of the number of participants would absolutely have a positive impact. Not only would it allow them to plan more activities, but it would allow more ability to reach out and coordinate with other groups doing similar work.

Now I admit all of this sounds well and good in retrospect, but we've all graduated from college, so now what? I still think everyone fresh out of college should be volunteering in some respect. In the real world, it's tougher to get a new organization or idea of the ground, but there are far more organizations out there to learn from and apprentice under. Life outside of college becomes less of a sprint and affords more time to making intelligent long-term changes and improvements to the community.

1 comment:

AZ Winer said...

You're right... I should probably do more... but how do I combat laziness? Or better yet.. where do I start??

In regards to the Dback:
The people who seemed to complain the most about the Diamondback were those OUTSIDE of the J-school. Those who were actually part of the Diamondback (or in the school of journalism) complained mostly about the people who worked there - a very different kind of drama.

On that note.. BESIDES the most obvious issue - start up capital - I DO believe that a dedicated group of 25-30 people can do just about anything actually. And I DO believe that about half the students at Maryland are pretty worthless.