The opinions shared in this article do not reflect the overall position of The Herald, but rather offer insight from the authors.
I have had two friends, two grandparents, my father, and my mother visit me here at Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges. Their visits were all unique, but their impression of the school was ubiquitous. When they heard me describe the countless opportunities there are for engagement at HWS, when they see the sunset against the Geneva sky, they are pleasantly surprised. But one question persists: where are all the people?
Especially on weekends, the campus, the quad, is empty. The clubs are funded and student-run, and there’s an abundance of them, but student turnout is abysmally low. Even when membership seems high, and email lists are long, actual bodies in club meetings are sparse on the whole. Where are all the people?
They are holed up in their rooms, they are increasingly off-campus, and they are depressingly disengaged. And they are so despite, and almost in spite of, the nearly 40,000 dollars that the student government has failed to throw at students for club funding. More frustrating still, the cause of our overwhelming reserve does not stem from a lack of generosity, but instead from a lack of will, and a lack of student initiative.
If we are to blame students for their insipidity, we must begin to point to admissions. Why are we accepting students who are not engaged, and are not contributing to the betterment of this institution? If we are to blame student leaders for irresolute outreach strategies, or for not creating more desirable activities for our current student body, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Either way, ours is a school rife with untapped opportunities for engagement, and if we want to keep it that way, it would be a good start for my grandmother to complain about the ruckus, and not about the silence.