NIU students really can make a difference

Moral of the story:If you want something done right, get off your butt and fix it yourself.

The story: It’s a given that students get jerked around by the web of higher education bureaucracy, the NIU administration and state legislative dollars.

Now students can whine and moan all they want about these problems, but it’s never going to change unless students become active.

Yeah, you know, active. As in involved. As in concerned. As in willing to protest and stand up for student rights. As in putting down the beer can for a minute, shutting MTV off and ditching the couch-potato image to attempt to make a difference.

What the hell has happened to students nowadays? While glomming through some old Northern Stars, circa 1986, I ran across the most incredible event. It seems the students were angry over what they termed outrageous spending on a $20,000 presidential inauguration. (We’ll look at the finer details of the infamous Clyde Wingfield presidency another time.) So, come the day of the inauguration, a group of students actually protested and laid themselves down on the steps of the Holmes Student Center while the administration paraded into the building, stepping over the prostrate students. “This just goes to show that the administration walks all over us,” one protester quipped. How great!

But those days are gone, much like the $2.6 million the state lopped off our budget this year. Ah, if only we had a return to the 60s. Although I wasn’t alive back then, I’m sure the level of student activeness and social awareness was enormous, especially compared to today’s world of the “De La Soul generation” (you know, as in me, myself and I).

Anyone at NIU who has eyes can see that this student apathy problem exists. Heck, even outsiders can see it. Dinesh D’Souza, a famed decision maker in the Reagan cabinet, spoke at NIU last semester and labelled the campus a “hotbed of apathy.” Ouch. Painful, but true.

However, students have a couple of excellent chances coming up to prove that NIU is indeed not a hotbed of apathy, but a place where students actually care about what goes on in the world they supposedly live in.

First of all, there’s an election coming up. Oh, I’m sorry, voting requires spending some time reading about where the candidates stand on various issues. Gee, we all know what a bite that is—way too much work for the average person.

State representative Art Thomas visited NIU yesterday and said that the only way students can make a difference is by voting. Hey, this is hardly a revolutionary idea.

Secondly, the Student Association is planning some sort of a protest at the next Board of Regents meeting. The BOR is NIU’s governing board. Why not join in?

Okay, to cut to the chase, the only way students can make a change or get anything done around here is to show they care. Hey people, get mad as hell about all the wasteful spending that goes on around here when tuition keeps getting raised and scholarships cut. Look at how much of your tuition dollars go to athletics that could be used to offer more classes. And if you’re not mad, why not? Everyone should care about what goes on around NIU because, after all, it does affect everyone.