Not only am I part of the community of Castleton University, but I love Castleton. I am always looking for ways to get involved to make the University a better place for fellow and future students. Therefore when the opportunity presented itself to participate in action for change I wanted to be involved. A peaceful protest to change future years fall semester ending date, and to have a student representative on the calendar committee. The idea for the protest was birthed from a discussion derived from the seats of a fleet van over the course of several hours on the road of Student Government Association representatives. The discussion began with the initial problem of the current and more importantly future exam schedule, but quickly involved into frustrated feelings of having our voices become lost in the maelstrom of administration. The exam schedule is inconvenient and causes problems for many students including some international students, athletes, and individuals wanting to go home and spend time with their families. However, the exam schedule was not the heart of the protest.
The pulse of our protest, what made it come alive was the fact that we wanted transparency, communication, and to be treated as equals. We are adults. We wanted to be taken seriously and to get the administration’s attention. The more we talked the more we realized we wanted to be active participants in decisions that affect us directly. We felt that not only was it our right but also our responsibility to our student body to be fully engaged on campus and in campus administration. Being engaged is more work, it means doing our research, scheduling meetings, and having diplomatic respectful conversations with faculty, administration and students alike. When students put in that kind of extra work for no credit and when these efforts are sometimes met with opposition and condescension it means one thing. It means we really want it. This is a new generation. We are no longer sitting on the sidelines asleep. We are curious individuals. We want to know how decisions are made, who makes them, and why. We want a well-rounded education that goes deeper than writing papers and taking notes on lectures.
That is the real reason why over 20 individuals stood outside Woodruff Hall on Wednesday November 30th. Among the students was a combination of faculty, international students, and Student Government representatives. I participated in this protest because I firmly believe that as culture and society evolves so should our approach to education. During the protest, some of the students discussed with a faculty member our platform for discussion and resolution, the faculty member commented and said “that’s the problem with compromise though, everybody loses”. But, I say the great thing about compromise is that everybody wins. Please understand I don’t say that from a place of naivety or idealism but a place of hope. Hope that we can come together both administration and students to a place of communication, involvement, and compromise. That’s the kind of world I want to live in and the kind of education with which I want to graduate.