Voice your opinions on current events and break the silence on campus

Column Carrie Bass

In the course of the past few weeks, the media has been abuzz about a number of highly exciting and controversial events: Sen. Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic Primary in New Hampshire, the wide-open Republican presidential nominee race, the massive return of reality television, the ever-present decline of Britney Spears and so on. Yet, our campus seems as quiet as ever, as students shuffle around, perhaps whispering about these topics while doing nothing about any of them.

Now, I am by no means claiming that one or more college kids in the middle of Kentucky are about to change the face of the 2008 presidential race or discover the cure for whatever Ms. Spears is suffering from. However, it would be nice to see anger, fear, excitement or any other emotion expressed publicly in a well-informed manner over a current event.

When I came to UK in fall 2004, I imagined that my college experience would mirror the clips I had seen of college campuses in the 1960s. I expected that somebody would be shoving a different pamphlet down my throat each and every day. I figured that, like me, everybody would be ranting weekly about a new subject that stuck in their craw.

Naturally, the overall apathy here at UK was hugely disappointing. Being the loudmouth, overly opinionated person that I am, I still wanted to say something, to take a stand and, at the very least, to engage in some intense public debates.

Even with this attitude, I had trouble finding my niche on campus. None of the clubs I went to really worked for me. Nobody I knew really felt the same way that I did. I felt pretty hopeless, as though apathy were a terminal disease with which I had just been diagnosed.

Halfway through my sophomore year, I did find a couple of other like-minded folks, and we managed to put together some feisty forums and events over the next few years. I am now part of the collegiate version of the geriatrics ward and tired of hearing my own opinions regurgitated. I want someone else to stir up some fresh topic on campus.

Nationwide, statewide and campus-wide, there are millions of ideas to have opinions about. Some issues may not be realistically resolved by students at UK, but it is essential to get people talking and thinking; after all, this is what college is all about.

Everybody has an opinion on something, whether it is on hairstyles, music, professors, Mike Huckabee or world peace. I would be lying if I denied that some topics are a teensy bit more important than others. However, organizing, speaking out and sparking an interest are made no more or less important by the issues for which they are performed.

As biased as my boredom may render me, I am correct in saying that taking a stand is always beneficial for the person who has decided to do so.

Firstly and most importantly, it is impossible not to feel relieved and proud once you have raised your voice on an issue that inspires you. Secondly, future employers and graduate programs are going to love you all the more once they see on your résumé that you are capable of standing strong and being passionate.

In this column, I wanted to talk about why students should get motivated to be opinionated and proactive: for themselves, for their future, and for me and my boredom. Since this issue is huge, I have just realized that I am not going to be able to fit everything into one column.

In next week’s column, I am going to talk about resources on campus for organizing events and getting a buzz started. So start thinking about how you feel about American Idol and the state of recycling at UK, and in a few weeks, maybe I will be writing about how I feel about you.

Carrie Bass is an art history major. E-mail [email protected].