Earlier last weekend, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) hosted its annual Penn State Dance Marathon (THON).
Essentially, it’s a 46-hour dance marathon that raises money for children with cancer, where the participants in the marathon are not allowed to sit down for the duration of the event. THON drew together a crowd that filled the performing center, capable of seating over 16,000 people, to full capacity.
But the highlight of the night was that this event raised over $12.3 million.
Let me reiterate that.
There are a lot of opportunities available for all students to get involved on campus.
In 46 hours, Penn State students raised $12.3 million for cancer.
It was a bit unfortunate that, on one side of my Facebook newsfeed, I came across this phenomenal event from my friends up north; and on the other side, various Tech students complaining about how their lack of sleep causes them to engage in questionable behavior. By questionable behavior, I mean exhibiting ADD-like symptoms and questioning life.
Now I’m not arguing that the enterprise of using Facebook to disclose irrelevant personal details about your life is a waste of the bytes of space a status may take on the Internet. But when juxtaposed with what Penn State just did, I asked myself, “What are we doing?”
There are a lot of opportunities available for all students to get involved on campus. No matter what kind of person you may be, the student organizations, Housing and the administration have programs going on to help get you engaged in the community.
But that’s the thing. It seems that these organizations, while tailored for a specific group of people, may not be tailored for all Tech students. It’s great that Tech students have an incredible diversity—it is what makes us a unique institution. But in that diversity, there must be a string of unity that links us together and allows everyone to gather for a greater cause.
For me, football season seems to beckon the greatest conglomeration of Tech students and a feeling of community. However, this doesn’t always engage the entire student body, especially when the seasonal performance does not fare well.
And of course, it falls on us as students to create this communal atmosphere.
So what’s the solution? I have no idea. But I do know that efforts are being taken—maybe not directly addressing this problem, but a certain degree of it.
For instance, SGA’s installation of an international football clinic is a step in the right direction. By engaging the international student body more in football season, I’m sure it will create a larger sense of community between Tech.
So what about spring? Perhaps the administration will come up with something greater. The campus climate survey sent out earlier last week has tremendous potential in understanding the dynamic of the student body as it stands today.
And of course, it falls on us as students to create this communal atmosphere. Some students may want to remain confined to their current social strata, whether it be out of satisfaction or lack of desire to get out of it.
I know there exists no solution in this editorial to a problem that I perceive and wish away. That’s not what they pay me the big bucks for. But solving it, whether it be through students or administration, may begin alleviating the negative, socially secluded and desperately geeky image Tech can have at times.