COLUMN: Let’s do something

Joanna Williams

This happens often. I’m in class, and we’re discussing an issue or problem going on in society. We’ll quickly move from discussing the problem to the important part — how we can change it. That’s when you hear the people in class who conclude, “Well, there isn’t much we can do about it because…”

I’ve been met with the same sort of apathy the entire semester, and it is both frustrating and disappointing. It seems that being active or vocal about something always comes in two extremes. On one hand, you have the people starting the protest and trying to rally everyone else, and on the other hand, you have the people who are quick to tell everyone they’re wasting their time. Or even worse, they don’t even know the issue at hand.

I think what people forget is the power, or more so the ability, we have as individuals. By that, I mean the ability to help create change and fix the problems, or at the very least bring awareness to the problems that we have in this world. While it’s extremely easy to become complacent and bogged down in the “There isn’t much I can do” or the “It’s always going to be the same” mentality (It happens to me quite a bit), we need to realize the power we have even as individuals.

I like to think we all believe in or are passionate about something. If you aren’t, then what’s keeping you going? So why not be vocal about it or do something?

This past semester, I’ve been working on a $100 Solution project with my Gender and Women’s Studies class. The $100 Solution is a service learning project that teaches students how they can enhance the quality of life with $100. While $100 is a small amount of money to some, there are a lot of things you can do to make an impact with it. I learned a lot through this project, but the most important thing has been that you don’t have to do anything grandiose to make a difference in your community.

If being vocal about the change you want to see isn’t your cup of tea, then at least be active.

Just recently, the pro-life group on campus, Hilltoppers for Life, had a week of events to support their beliefs. Whether or not I agree with their stance, I do think it’s admirable that there was a group of people brave enough to take something they believe in and to make a statement.

I’m constantly coming across articles that talk about our generation and its “slacktivism.” That entails signing petitions online and posting Facebook statuses without actually contributing. It’s an interesting concept but one I don’t think should begin to define a generation. I think that with all the things at our feet — instant communication and smartphones that move at 4G speed — there really isn’t an excuse on how we can spread the word.

After all, we are going to be the ones in charge in the not-too-distant future. Get up and get active. We all need you.