Since the day I started writing for The Concordian, I have taken this column seriously. I felt as though there was no discussion happening about issues surrounding Concordia that went beyond the dramatic, and far-from agreement, polarized sides. In order to grow as a citizen, student, person, writer, and reader, it is important to see the nuances, the inbetween, and the kaleidoscopes of sides. It is important to see the gray matter. I decided to withhold any quotes or outside research beyond my own perceptions and collective feedback from those around me to create a column that paralleled the discussions I would have with my friends in Anderson Commons (hopefully with a little more development). In this way I tried to make it relatable and accessible to students and to articulate the student brain for faculty and staff.
Throughout the year, I have taken a rather critical approach on my topics, but not for any lack of appreciation for Concordia. Although this many have frustrated, confused, or annoyed some, the purpose was not to bash Concordia but to present an argument that calls my readers to reflect on the college, or even to enact change on campus. I am guilty of buying into the very things I have criticized in my column. I buy into the divided music and athletic cultures on campus, I find myself bashing Dining Services, and I often rant about the cost of tuition. But I believe that if there are people trying to hold us all accountable, we are all better and more honest for it. Maybe we even diversify our arguments.
In creating this column I hoped to not only work on holding myself more responsible, but to respect the institution enough to constantly be looking for ways it can improve. It will always be easy to be a proud Cobber, donate to the college, and feed into the amazing alumni community the school promotes. But for a college that has changed both physically and culturally throughout its 126 years of existence, we must shy away from always patting it on the back and instead push it to continue its growth. Many believe that the process of BREWing and becoming a critical intellectual begins the second the gates open to the real world after graduation. But growth will always be important at home in Cobberville. Having Concordia be honest and in tune with the needs of its students can often be harder than fighting battles outside campus. I have met countless people who keep this place running, and I know that the potential for good values and intellect are in no short apply.
I urge you to be more than a head in the sand, exclusively socializing with certain students and letting Concordia run its course around you. Be more than a professor. Refuse to allow your specialized qualifications to separate you from any student and their journey. Promote inclusive values in and out of the classroom. Be involved, expect greatness, promote gray matter, and Concordia will continue to be the haven of an institution where greatness is powered by the people and not the tradition.