Conquering apathy needed for future success of SGA

I couldn’t be more honored and excited to be representing, getting to know and working with each of you over the next year as your Student Body President.
While I have the experience and have made a plan for addressing next year’s challenges, I can’t help but consider, “How on Earth did I end up in this role?”
After giving this question some thought, one obscure, half-forgotten memory from my freshman year keeps coming to mind.
Sometime in Oct. of 2008, I remember sitting in a Matheson study lounge discussing with three other freshmen our evolving impression of Tech, our new home.
We were all relatively well-adjusted here, having gotten involved in Freshmen Leadership Organizations or other organizations, acclimated to college-level classes and begun to make lasting friendships. Yet, there was something that we weren’t quite satisfied with, an ideal that was not a reality. I had an image in my mind of the idyllic college campus, where there are frequent protests, daily philosophical conversations and tie-dye clad students lying in quads listening to acoustic guitar. As you have probably noticed, these images are not frequently seen at Tech.
As we further delved into this discussion, we concluded that it was not the specifics of this vision that were disappointing us, but the culture of youthfulness and vitality that they implied. It seemed to us that Tech students simply didn’t care about our campus world as much as we had hoped.
The four of us decided it was our duty, or rather, our calling, to address this issue. We were going to incite our fellow students to action, reinvigorate Tech’s culture and leave a lasting impact on our campus—all of this through the creation of The Apathy Council.
At most, eight of you reading this article will ever have heard of The Apathy Council, so you probably realize that our efforts did not amount to much. In many ways, it was a typical freshman endeavor—full of passion, lofty goals, late-night meetings and little actual plan of action. Eventually, our energy fizzled, and we each moved onto other involvements and initiatives for the remainder of the year.
Since then, my impression of Tech has continued to evolve. I’ve met innumerable students who are not just complaining about problems, but contributing to the solutions. Students like Melissa McCoy, who started Enterprise2Empower, an organization that seeks to create centralized resources for student social entrepreneurs. Students like Laurie Bracaglia who is researching improvements to children’s heart surgeries. Students like Sarah Vaden who is innovating modern music technology with the invention of a drum that can change tones on demand. Many Tech students clearly care about our campus and our world, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a Jacket.
And yet, room for progress undeniably remains. Although The Apathy Council did not come to fruition, I think there is something to be said for the Council members’ first impression of Tech. A culture of apathy is still present.
We see this apathy regarding our city’s problems. English Ave., just one mile west of our campus, is plagued by the highest rates of crime, prostitution and illiteracy in the city. Yet, many Tech students are unaware of this, and fewer are striving to improve it.
We see this apathy through an on-campus leadership vacuum. Organizations across campus have seen a lack of interest in leadership positions, most visibly in the recent SGA elections. This lack of interest in taking on our campus’s issues is a poor reflection on our student body and worrisome for the future of effective student leadership. The Technique said it aptly in stating, “Harmony may be good for music. In student government, it only means apathy.” It is up to each of us, individually, to take ownership of our campus and ultimately of our world. Find something to care about and pursue it wholeheartedly.
That something for me has been SGA. As I consider what has motivated my involvement in SGA, I’ve realized that my motives are very much the same as those that drove the creation of The Apathy Council. As such, I will be working for the next year to improve the Tech student experience. But I am by no means equipped to do this alone. Many of SGA’s most effective projects and initiatives have been inspired by ideas, not from the current leadership, but by students who took the time to share their opinion.
So whether you want to get involved formally by applying to an Executive Branch position, or would rather simply share your opinion on how to better our campus, contribute to making Tech a university where incoming freshman immediately see how incredible our students are. The environment in which we live, study, work and play profoundly impacts us—only together can we better Tech.


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