I believe in UABy Samantha Rudelich | 11/19/2015 9:30am
In less than a week, I’ll make my bi-yearly trek home to Michigan. While I’m elated to see and spend time with my family, I’m also preparing to field the typical judgements about the University. I’m readying for the inevitable passive aggressive questions surrounding my university, especially in the midst of this tense time. I’m deciding on how I want to handle the surprised looks when people remember that I still, not only attend, but feel pride and love for my university. I must prepare my defense for the northern, self-righteous jury. A jury that neither wants nor tries to make an effort to understand the struggles we, as a campus, face.
This love for the is not an easy one, consistently put to the test through the actions of small and selfish individuals. But it is the brave and astounding acts of leadership I see every day on campus that gives me hope. It is in the insightful and passionate conversations surrounding change that notify me of the evolution to come. These daily encounters with change-agents remind me that to fix the problem, it will take constant, focused attention to move us forward. This is difficult to sustain, but during doubtful moments of my decision to come down here, I recall the incredible student leaders and I believe.
In the bottom of my soul, I believe change is coming. It will come because the student body has awoken and left the usual apathy in the past. With this awakening, a fresh wave of anger has emerged to feed the fire of our frustration. This passion will sustain our commitment to diversity. While motivating, these emotions can also be somewhat detrimental to our cause. Without a plan of action, our vision will never come to fruition. This is where we need faculty and administrators to have our backs and support us through the planning process. We know what a brighter campus looks like, and now we need our campus partners to communicate and work with us.
One thing different from when I was last home is that I can speak to the grassroots effort for change I see every day on campus and have strong physical evidence to support me. I’ll show them the message from my Vice President of Student Affairs addressing the offensive banner and asserting that this is not what our university is about. I’ll show them the beautifully created video, “How Does it Feel to be a Problem?”, Amanda Bennett, AJ James, and Elliot Spillers courageously published to highlight the aggressions they face daily. I’ll show them the article “Why I’m leaving the Machine” by Alex Smith and explain the grit it took to go against such a powerful entity. These tangible markers of progression coupled with the student body’s collective rejection of inequity give me hope for our tomorrow.
This winding road to change will not be one of immediate gratification nor will it be an easy transition. But the conversation has become so loud and demanding, that it may no longer be ignored. It is the reason that I can exclaim that I believe in the University and the revolution to come.
Samantha Rudelich is a junior majoring in business management. Her column runs biweekly.