Ever pretend to talk on your cell phone or finish the crossword to avoid talking to people sitting at tables in the Student Center? I have, and I’m ashamed to admit it.
During the weeks leading up to the March 4 primary, students manned tables and encouraged other students to register to vote. I was shocked by the response of passing students – none seemed to notice the table, and many didn’t even answer when asked, “Hi, are you registered to vote?”
Not only is this rude, it also negatively affects campus activism (political or otherwise) and the overall TCU environment.
Admittedly, as students, we are busy. We’re often minutes away from the start of a class and seem to have more pressing issues on our minds. Sometimes I don’t have the minute needed to talk to organization representatives. But most of the time I do, and so do other students.
If you pass through the Student Center on your speed-walk to class, you will likely pass through again on your way back to your dorm, car or Frog Bytes.
Sometimes we don’t feel like talking to the representatives, and sometimes we’re uncomfortable because they ask for money. Other times we might disagree with their cause or simply not care. In any case, we should consider how our reactions affect the campus environment, and at least, mind our manners.
You may consider their cause unworthy of your two-to-three minutes, but obviously they don’t.
Their cause is worth hours of their own time spent manning a table and enduring body-language beatings from passersby. Even if you don’t care about a cause or completely disagree, why not take 10 seconds to say, “I’m in a hurry, do you have something I can take with me?”
No one will argue if you need to run to class. Most likely, the thrilled representative will be eager to distribute information. How saddening and discouraging it must be to not even dent the stack of materials you’ve compiled to distribute after hours of trying to enlighten other students.
Two weeks ago, running to class as usual, I passed a shivering student outside the bookstore on Berry Street holding a huge presidential campaign sign. I dislike the candidate he promoted but was impressed enough to say “Hey, good for you, it’s nice to see some political activism on this campus!”
His response? “Oh, well I don’t go here, I go to TCC. But thanks for the encouragement, I haven’t talked to anyone all day.”
Wow, he must be accustomed to better responses if he thought his strategy was effective enough to deploy to other local universities.
Students should try to unite as a community and listen to new ideas. By ignoring each other, we sacrifice both potentially important information and the supportive atmosphere TCU strives for. What’s worse, we discourage others from reaching out to the Horned Frog community in the future.
Candace Ruocco is a junior political science, English and fashion merchandising major from St.Louis, Mo.