Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World. We hear or read these words at least a few times every week while here at Concordia College. But is saying them really doing anything? Are Cobbers responsibly engaged citizens of the world — or even of our own country? We are involved in countless activities both on and off campus, but are we really delving into any area that is of particular importance to us?
Concordia junior Katie Beedy commented on a Facebook post, writing, “It’s why the Feminism Club email list has more than 100 members, but an average of 6 show up to each meeting. It’s why students sign up for 5, 10, 15 activities at Cobber Expo. We’re over-involved and undercommitted.” The pressure to be involved in an unmanageable number of activities is holding students back from becoming fully engaged in anything.
A couple of weeks ago, the newly formed Concordia Resistance Action Team hosted an event for students to call state senators and share their opposition to HB 1427, a bill introduced by North Dakota Republicans that would allow local governments to ban new refugees for up to a year and grant the governor the power to impose a statewide ban on refugee resettlement. While over 60 students replied to the Facebook event with “going” or “interested,” less than 10 students actually showed up to the event. Why is this “slacktivism” so prominent on our campus? I’m not trying to call anyone out for not being as active in social justice as I think they ought to be. To be completely honest, I’ve done shamefully little myself in this department. I couldn’t even get my butt out of bed to go to the Women’s March, so I am certainly not judging anyone for their decisions not to do more.
Every September, students go to Cobber Expo and are surrounded by booths for countless student organizations. While Concordia champions its wide variety of clubs on campus, as it should, a problem comes with having so many options. Here at Concordia, it’s not how well you do things, it’s how many things you do. Students see so many things they might have even an inkling of interest in, and they put their name on the list. Wouldn’t it be irresponsible not to take advantage of all these opportunities? By the time students have walked through all the booths, they’ve signed up for far more many clubs than they can actually commit to. Once students get emails with more information, they might realize that it’s not going to work in their schedule and they remove themselves from the email list. The problem lies in the students that remain involved in clubs, sports, and music. Of course, being “over-involved” in and of itself isn’t a crime. But what often happens with this over-involvement is that students fail to fully immerse themselves in any singular passion. Having diverse hobbies and interests is good. But spreading yourself too thin is obviously not.
So, how do we, as Concordia students, fix this attitude? Is it even something that needs to be “fixed?” I would argue that it is, but I’m sure there are plenty of students are perfectly happy being passively involved in far too many activities. I suppose if that’s where you’re comfortable, then that’s where you’re comfortable. But, as Cobbers being told to “BREW,” settling into this role of filling your schedule with meaningless activities is contrary to what we should be standing for. Yes, take advantage of opportunities — but take advantage of them to their fullest extent. Don’t waste your time jumping from club to club, filling your resume with things that do not define you in the slightest.
And with that, I leave your corn buttered.
Emma Garton (’19) is a senior studying Communications and Spanish. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian this year. In addition to working for the paper, Emma works in Concordia’s IT department, interns at Absolute Marketing Group in Fargo, ND, and plays trumpet in the Concordia Band.