Take a stake in the issues at Tech to lead later in life

By Alina Staskevicius, undergraduate student body president

Let me start by admitting something: I’m not exactly the queen of political discourse; at least, I’m not sure any of the “About Me” labels on Facebook accurately describe my opinions. But I have noticed something recently that intrigues me: how hip it seems to not have, well, any opinions.

In general, it worries me that as a society we accept what we see in the media, forget to look for any reasoning behind rules and policies, and find ourselves too tired to change the world we live in. As technology makes our lives easier, it seems as if our society is growing more and more complacent, and less and less active in change. But is this laziness due to the technology being developed?

I don’t think so. After all, technology is the fruit of ideas, and ideas are a symbol of progress. And progress – well, that’s exactly what we need. So then what is the cause of our complacency? Looking back in history, I think we have seen that apathy is nothing new.

The problem is that now, it is accompanied by other new and pressing societal problems. Today, our nation and others face monumental challenges on many fronts: energy, world hunger, the global economy, health care, war, technological innovation, and hundreds more.

While these larger problems in the world may not be a direct result of the apathy we see in our daily lives, I think we can all agree that overcoming our apathy will help to solve them.

And if our generation does nothing about it, we risk our society’s complacency worsening those issues. Our generation’s college graduates – Georgia Tech graduates, to be specific – will need to lead the country and the world in resolving these issues. There is too much at stake for us to remain silent observers.

I am proud to say that the Tech students I have met over the past three years are ones with drive, vision and passion – students who see the world and want to make it a better place.

In fact, I firmly believe that Tech prepares its graduates to care for the world we live in, whether it be using public policy to become active in federal policy or environmental engineering to use our natural resources more wisely.

There are Tech grads right now inventing and experimenting in the background to make our lives easier, and there are many more on their way.

We have also had Yellow Jackets move on to join the Peace Corps, work for NASA, and start their own companies from the ground up.

There is a tradition of excellence in place for us to follow. It is up to us, the current students, to ask the right questions and move forward to make a positive impact in our work, social, or academic environments.

I often hear students say that Georgia Tech isn’t the “real world”; in a literal sense, they are correct. But we cannot deny that all of us have been hugely influenced by Tech – it is the place we call home, and that seems pretty real to me.

That’s why Tech is a great place to start leaving our apathy behind, changing the status quo, and converting the energy and drive each of us have to make Georgia Tech a better place. We must work together to make the changes we want to see on our campus.

I know you care – so let’s use the ideas, the questions, and the resources at our fingertips to make Georgia Tech exactly what we want it to be for ourselves and for generations of future students.

Whether you go on to become a professor, or research for a cure for cancer, or climb the ranks in politics and improve international relations, or take an industry job and repeatedly travel to plants in Asia and South America, or simply educate your children on the power they have to change the world, you will have become a citizen of the world – exactly what Tech students are meant to become.

Let’s start here, and let’s start now. I could not be more excited to see the improvements we can make together.