Time is now for students to take responsibility of increasing awareness into their own hands

TWO WEEKS AGO, the Associated Students Inc. elections were held. Not that most of us seemed to care. There were some positions for office that nobody ran for which relied on write-in candidates to be filled.

Worse yet, only about two percent of the Fresno State student population bothered to vote.

I would find this laughable if it weren’t so disturbing.

Some blame this on the lack of advertising on the part of ASI. I have to admit, I don’t really know what ASI does.
From the people I have spoken to from a variety of majors and class levels, this is the general consensus.

ASI and the entire student body could benefit from better advertising. Maybe they should get some mass communication and journalism majors on that.

But whose responsibility is it anyway? What has happened to student involvement? Aren’t there any aspiring politicians on campus?

There comes a point when we have to take it upon ourselves to find out this information. We can’t just expect it to come to us. We have to search it out. Just like in the real world, things aren’t handed to us.

Students say they don’t have time to spend on something like this, but that’s ridiculous. You know we don’t spend every waking moment studying. Not all of us have kids to take care of. Not all of us have jobs.

So what are you so busy doing? Text messaging your pick to “American Idol?� Sanjaya’s gone. You don’t have a reason to watch that show anymore.

We just don’t want to spend our time on more academic pursuits. This is reflected in voter turnout, among other things.

One way nominees for U.S. presidential elections are reaching out to younger voters now is by advertising on MySpace. Each nominee has his or her own page. This is pretty ingenious. A lot of us are more likely to check MySpace everyday than we are to pick up a newspaper or go to CNN.com.

Although, if I remember correctly, a while back one candidate running for an ASI position was disqualified when he started campaigning on Myspace before the official campaign season began. So I guess we can’t do that.

This apathy spreads to other parts of our lives, as well. As a writing tutor on campus, I am a part of a union that includes all teaching associates, graduate assistants and undergraduate tutors from all the California State universities.

Among other things, the union has been negotiating with the university for fee waivers. If the university continues to deny us fee waivers, we will prepare to go on strike.

Two weeks ago, there was a statewide meeting held in Long Beach to discuss this possibility. Only about 25 students from the 23 total campuses were in attendance.

Again, this may be because the meeting wasn’t advertised well enough, but more likely, it’s because no one seems to care. This union is comprised of the students, by the students and for the students.

Whatever it accomplishes, all the academic student employees will benefit from, even if they are not active members of the union.

The UAW was also holding elections. Again, there were offices nobody was running for, and some people were re-elected merely because no one challenged them.

I think this speaks to a larger issue. I cannot explain why there is a growing amount of apathy in our community. Like most things, there are probably numerous reasons that interact with each other to create this. We should all be asking ourselves what we can do about this.

What are we doing in college if we don’t concern ourselves with how we can become better citizens?

We should be ambitious. We should strive forward. The habits we get into now stay with us for years. The apathy we tolerate now will follow us for the rest of our lives.

Don’t let yourself become unaware of the world around you. It’s not too late.

For the soon to graduate: keep in mind that it is your duty to contribute to this world in a positive way. Continue to educate yourselves.

For the undergraduates: get involved in activities around campus or around town. Find out where you can make a difference.

We’re not trying to fight each other and place blame. We’re supposed to be working together.

We may be stuck in a rut, but don’t count yourself out altogether.

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