Dear NDSU Students: Give a Damn

Ignorance is easy when all is blissfully well.

When campus projects break ground, budgets swell alongside enrollment and a Division-II football team evolves into an FCS powerhouse, contentedness is commonplace. Why worry about systems like student government, the state legislature or the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education? It’s their jobs to worry on our behalf.

Today, though, we’re worried, and if you care about North Dakota State, you should be, too. We’re worried for the future of higher education in North Dakota, and we’re especially worried our classmates’ lack of concern (and administration and faculty’s lack of unified agency) will reverse our university’s progress.

In the midst of our state’s economic downturn, it’s all of our jobs to not only be distressed, but to do something about it. Otherwise, we’ll suffer mightily.

Don’t just take our word for it. Larry Reynolds, a distinguished university professor who’s been at NDSU for three decades, said at a faculty forum that “these cuts are going to take us back 30 years. There’s no doubt about it.”

Where’s the outcry?

To fight apathy, we must fight ignorance.

How many of us can, without Google, name the North Dakota University System chancellor? Or what the SBHE’s mission is? Do you know the reasons why budget cuts are dismantling areas of campus, like student affairs?

We understand higher ed is a steep learning curve; we try to cover the policies and politics of it all, and it’s a difficult undertaking.

We also know student apathy, and apathy on all levels, is not a new conversation.

Just this fall, when Bresciani’s days at NDSU were in doubt, nearly three-fourths of students weren’t aware this contract was even up for renewal. More than half didn’t have strong feelings on whether he should have received the extension.

The fall prior, more students voted for homecoming candidates than student body elections.

And 68 falls before that, The Spectrum urged North Dakota Agricultural College in 1947 “to shake off the apathy which has gripped the campus.”

Let’s break this cyclical indifference; having an educated, opinionated student body will only help NDSU.

Don’t let the fear of not knowing everything keep you quiet. Advocating for what you believe in isn’t about winning arguments; it’s about starting a conversation for the good of an organization.

Staying quiet doesn’t accomplish that.

So freshmen, learn quickly and build an understanding of higher education, both here and within the state. Sophomores and juniors, if you see something you don’t like, fix it. Complaining won’t cut it anymore. And seniors, remember your alma mater and support NDSU, now and forever.

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