BIPP: piercing the Bucknell bubble

Zach Krivine, Contributing Writer

There are many elements of this university that make it unique. Its small size, its resources, and its relative geographic isolation from other major metropolises make for a student experience that is totally different than one that someone would have at Boston University or the University of Wisconsin, for example.

There are upsides to these features of the University. A small student-to-faculty ratio makes for an unrivaled, and often challenging, learning experience. The small number of students makes it easy to meet people and make connections. Finally, we’re kind of in the middle of nowhere (no disrespect to those hailing from Union County, you have lovely hills). This means that whether you like the people you’re around or not, you’re not going anywhere. There is, therefore, a strong on-campus party scene, and no shortage of fun on the weekends.

However, this University is not without its flaws, and I would like to address one in particular in my final BIPP column of my college career.

I do not wish to paint a uniform picture of the student body, as in general, we are a highly ambitious and hard-working group. Furthermore, there are students who feel that keeping up and engaging with the outside world is important. However, I have often been astounded by the level of political apathy and unawareness expressed by my classmates. First, I would like to discuss how this is problematic for us as a campus.

When I was a first-year, students of the University were caught using racial slurs during a radio show. This was a time when memories of the events of Ferguson, Mo. were still fresh, and news about the killing of Freddie Gray by Baltimore police was coming in daily. There was uproar from the administration in response to the campus incident: multiple students were expelled, and many students including myself were enraged. But not all, and I am tempted to say not most. This fact was perhaps even more infuriating to me than the usage of the words themselves.

Yet, I understood quickly why this is the case. I turn back to the University’s location and its social scene, and bring into the discussion the homogeneity of the student body (we have diversity, but not nearly enough). There is no incentive to be aware of events in the world, much less care about them. That which matters happens on campus.

However, this is not just a problem for this school. As a country, we are going to face immense challenges in the 21st century. Our parents had it good. We may not have it so. The years between the end of World War II up until very recently have often been dubbed the “Pax Americana”: a period of global economic growth and multilateral institutions with the United States leading from the helm. We see in many regards that this period may be coming to an end.

Our geopolitical foes are increasing their ability to spread disorder, global conflicts are increasing in number and magnitude, hate-fueled rhetoric is making a comeback in many corners of the world, and threats such as climate change will doubtlessly alter how we live our lives. By the way, at the moment, the U.S. federal debt stands at more than $21 trillion. Who do you think is going to have to pay that back?

Now, it is not all gloom and doom. As Americans, we are still afforded some of the best opportunities to flourish in the world. As University students, we will graduate with invaluable degrees and will be successful in whatever field we choose. To those who are just beginning their University experience; have fun (that’ll happen on its own), but try to be aware of the fact that you are still a citizen of the United States (or elsewhere for that matter) and the opinions you hold and how you conduct yourself still matter. To those of us about to graduate; get ready. There’s a lot on our plate.

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