BY ANNA JENSEN
I’m fed up with the current portrayal of student involvement and support. We continually pride ourselves as an involved university and always challenging ourselves. Yet, on Feb. 8, Student Activities Board (SAB) brought a phenomenal speaker to campus and only 16 people were in attendance.
Ten of those 16 were SAB executive members. Three of the non-SAB members were friends of some students on SAB Exec, one was there on behalf of Coalition of Black Students (CBS), who collaborated to bring speaker Traciana Graves to campus and another was a Times-Delphic photographer.
People might say they didn’t know the event was happening — they didn’t see the posters that were hung up in every building on campus; they didn’t see the Facebook post 10 SAB members shared; they didn’t pick up the Times-Delphic that had a preview of the event in the Features section; they didn’t watch the live stream of the senate meeting on Feb. 2 where the SAB president shared the time and place of the event.
As a member of SAB, I know how hard the board works to bring these events to campus and it saddens me to see so few people in attendance each time. We take great pride in the messages the speakers are sharing on campus and wish more people would take the time to listen to them.
I want to address the fact that I understand that people have busy schedules. This event happened on a Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m., so people might have had work, organization meetings or a lot of homework due the next day.
I am a student too, and I completely understand that. I have not attended every SAB event that was held this year. It was for some of the aforementioned reasons. But not only does this lack of attendance make SAB exec members upset, it also is a blow to the speaker who came all the way from New York to share her story.
This is not the first time an event like this has had poor attendance. It needs to be addressed. SAB’s campus impact chairs work really hard to bring stimulating, engaging, worthwhile, important events to campus and I find that, in relation to the other events SAB puts on, it is extremely undervalued.
I am addressing this is because this isn’t the first time low attendance has been an issue. Twenty people is the average attendance for most campus impact events. Last year, campus impact brought Lauren Potter to campus which had a large turn out, but that was likely because she was well-known for her role on “Glee.”
I feel like SAB is valued for its entertainment aspect, be that through Relays week, comedians or bands. But, SAB is such a big part of campus because it offers more than fun activities.
Part of SAB’s mission statement is to “provide educational programming.” SAB brings speakers who can relate their messages to what is going on in the world; people who can craft a message that will have an impact on the way you act tomorrow; people who share something so powerful that you think, ‘Why haven’t I been acting this way all along.’
The event that happened last night did exactly that. Graves pushed the students in attendance to confront their fears, the one thing that keeps them from being eternally happy or free, and then handed the mic to each of them and told them to share.
We found that almost everyone’s fear was similar. It had to do with fear of disappointing others, not living up to other people’s expectations or being afraid to fail in front of others.
Graves pointed out that there is always something that links people together. There are commonalities in everyone’s stories, and if only we took the time to find them we would be so much better off as individuals and as a society.
If only we took the time to compliment someone, or hold a door for someone, or say hi to a stranger passing by, we would be better off as individuals and as a society.
If only we didn’t judge people by what they ate, how they looked, what color their skin color is or how they speak, we would be better off as individuals and as a society.
If only we listened, instead of being so self-absorbed, we would be better off as individuals and as a society.
The messages spread tonight were meant for a larger audience. The stories that are being shared through campus impact events are valuable, progressive and worthy of being listened to.
Take some time out of your schedule to listen to other people, really listen. Be it a speaker campus impact brings or even your friends. We learn so much through other people’s stories and experiences.
I really hope you do.