Campus divisions hurt unification causeBy Mary Catherine Connors | 02/10/2015 10:49pm
Scott Stern’s piece in the Feb. 2 edition of the “Yale Daily News” was entitled “The New Yale Man.” It was strikingly honest and charged and it cast an interesting perspective on the stereotypical Ivy League student. The Yale Men who previously flooded the esteemed Connecticut campus in suits and fancy leather shoes are now back in 2015, Stern argues.
What then, is the typical University of Alabama student? A fraternity pledge with cool sneakers? That person in Starbucks you swear never leaves and thrives on anthemic blues music to take them to church? Or the quintessential engineering student who’s really good at math and will probably make way more money than the rest of us?
But Stern explores an area of his own campus that is a little scary. However accurate his assessment of some of his classmates may be, he presents a truth regarding divisions among a college campus – divisions that include income class, interests, ethnicity and gender. Even if his suggestions turn out to be statistically untrue, the fact that students feel such a big gap from peers is disheartening.
And sometimes, this can’t be helped. Students find clubs and organizations that they spend more and more time with. They find friends within those groups and shared interests soon turn a large campus into a small community. But The University of Alabama doesn’t deserve just one person, an overgeneralized version of our student body, to be the face of our university. A good university presents diversity. A good university presents dissimilar groups that find commonality - one that can be derived from the fact that we attend the same school, go to the same classes and learn from the same professors. We face the same problems. We deal with the same stress.
I hope that the “typical University of Alabama student” never exists. With the recent controversy surrounding Greek life, it’s not a far leap to say division on campus is possible, and lessening this division is essential to the University’s success.
The University of Alabama should be a university where students are theoretically able to have an encouraging start to their professional lives. Students start from the ground up: entering as freshmen, struggling to maintain a stack of Get on Board Day flyers and leaving as seniors, confident that they have sought out their passions, that they’ve gotten out of the University what they put in. Then, if in 10 or so years, a University of Alabama alum is sitting in a meeting and finds that the guy next to him is also an alum, there should be no contingencies to their connection.
A greater effort must be made to unite as a campus and realize that we don’t go to 15 different universities that happen to be in close proximity to each other. We go to one campus. To be divided is not a joke, and if there must be a typical University of Alabama student, he or she should represent a multitude of interests. A mutual respect for our fellow classmates is the only way we will survive beyond this university. It’s going to take work, but the division is only working against our success.
Mary Catherine Connors is a sophomore majoring in economics and mathematics. Her column runs weekly.