Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

College is supposed to be the time in our lives where we seek to challenge the status quo. We, as college students, are given the responsibility to find issues that we are passionate about and look to provide solutions to problems that surround us. Just as important as providing solutions to those problems, however, is an individual’s reason for doing so. One does not set out to change the status quo just for the sake of doing so. Too often there are those who put on the clothes of change agents for little more than a byline in the newspaper and a line on their resume. Others seek to upset the apple cart to “leave their mark.” At their core, both of these rationales seek little more than glory and a sort of selfish sense of achievement. But if not for glory, why seek to better our community?

Love.

As students of the Capstone, we should take pride in our university. It is easy to criticize from an outsider’s view, always looking to find something wrong with what is happening on campus on any day. It is a much more worthwhile task to see the positives on campus and celebrate them while striving to make things even better. We should not change this institution because we hate it. We should do so because we love it.

I have been blessed to see profound and positive change during my time in Tuscaloosa. The integration of the Greek system on our campus was without question the most important and positive development at Alabama during my four years here. What made it all the more remarkable were those who fought for that cause outside of the limelight. That great and mighty change would not have happened if not for the people behind the scenes and the discussions that took place behind closed doors within those organizations whose members chose to take a positive stand. It is easy to be critical, to say what is wrong with the world and do nothing more. It requires a profound love to do whatever it takes to make your small corner of the world a better place.

In my four short years on campus, I have had the opportunity to see campus leaders of all varieties come and go. The biggest, most positive changes I have seen on campus started with campus leaders, including leaders of Greek houses and those in the SGA, sitting down and having honest discussions about how to make this campus a better place.

Yes, I know, this narrative cuts against the consistent demonization of the SGA you have heard and will continue to hear. But, for some, it is not about the attention or the glory. The reason I and many others chose to do what we could to make this campus a better place is because we are proud of our university and what it stands for.

I think it is time that all students on campus take a few steps back and really examine what our university is. The story of the Capstone is filled with examples of injustice. But it is also filled with those who took a stand against that injustice and made this campus a better place. Those individuals certainly did not stand up for glory or acclaim or “to leave their mark.” They did it because they love this university and wanted to leave it a better place. Their legacy is not carved in stone but preserved forever in a university that increases opportunity and changes lives for the better. And that, today and tomorrow, is something worth fighting for.

Hamilton Bloom was the president of the Student Government Association for the 2014-2015 term.

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