We at the Technique recognize that often in these consensus pieces we tend to be overly negative and vaguely disparaging. However, as the year draws to an end and we publish the last issue of the year, we want to instead highlight the best parts of campus: the students.
A perfect example of the truly monumental work students can do to make this campus better is the work of SMILE, a student organization dedicated to “Spreading Messages In Love and Encouragement.” From chalked positive sayings on the sidewalk to heartfelt messages hung on trees, the students that make up SMILE have gone out of their way to make the Institute a more positive place to exist. Furthermore, the amount of effort the executive board and members put into consistently showing up in the small and big ways is highly commendable.
Whether it be complimenting students to hosting events at the scale of March Gladness, SMILE, in the relatively short time it has existed on our campus, has already drastically improved the lives of many and put a smile on countless faces.
Another organization that has been doing way more than just skating by is the Yellow Jacket Roller Derby team. They have greatly expanded their ranks from previous years and they truly reflect the diversity of the student body. While they might be aggressive and violent in the rink, the team has been nothing but a safe space for the dozens of students on it who come from incredibly different backgrounds. GymShark, a fitness brand with nearly six million followers on Instagram, even did a story on the roller derby team and the tireless work they’ve done to build an inclusive environment for each and every member on the team.
Pride Alliance also went above and beyond in organizing counter-protests and coming to the defense of Lia Thomas and LGBTQIA+ people everywhere in the face of prejudice and harassment on campus.
Moreover, their weekly events have played a large part in building a queer community at Tech while also facilitating discussion on important topics such as mental health, workplace discrimination, and coming out.
We would also like to recognize their unwavering dedication to being accessible to each and every student and being more than willing to make any necessary accommodations to accomplish this mission.
Tech’s African American Student Union is another organization on campus that has been doing an immeasurable amount of work to make campus a more welcoming place for all students.
Many of their safe space events and panels aim to give Black students an opportunity to have discussions about often overlooked issues and ask questions they may otherwise lack a forum to ask about.
For example, the organization hosted a panel during Black History Month on being Black in a predominantly white institution, like Tech. These questions, while difficult, are often overlooked or taken over by other voices, so we applaud AASU for not being afraid to place them at the forefront.
Much of the work these student organizations are doing should be done by the Institute. It should not fall to student organizations to host diversity events, build safe spaces, or address mental health issues. However, time and time again the burden falls on students.
In our last consensus of the school year, we — as always — call for the Institute to do more. But, more importantly, we want to recognize the students who have done the most to help make Tech a campus we are proud to write about.