Busch: Political Apathy on Rowan’s Campus

"We are the teachers, professional staff, librarians, and coaches of the university. Without us, there is no teaching or learning at Rowan" said Joseph Basso. - Photo / Rowan University Student Affairs Blog

Editor’s Note: This opinion article was written by Liam Busch, who is a member of the Rowan Progressives’ writing team. This article was submitted on the behalf of the Rowan Progressives.

I challenge anyone reading this to have a conversation with somebody and see how long it takes for you to complain about something. It could be something small like a meeting you don’t want to attend, or it could be something large like a recent trip to the hospital. Either way, it won’t take long before both you and the person you are talking with have something to complain about. And on top of that, it is likely that both of you will agree. Though this evidence is anecdotal, many of my own interactions on campus often fall into this pattern. These complaints bother me, but it is the lack of potential solutions that nag at me the most.

There have been many instances in which I have invited students to get politically involved on campus, even if it is a small step such as attending a club meeting. Unfortunately, almost every time I extend these invitations, I am met with the same handful of responses. The most common — and most depressing — response is along the lines of “there is nothing that we can do to fix this,” whatever the issue may be. We don’t have to look far back in our own history to find successful, large-scale political movements, so why are the students on campus convinced that they are helpless? 

I say “students on campus” because this issue extends far beyond the people I talk to. In all four years that I have spent on campus, there have been many major political events that have affected us, not just as students but also as individuals. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is only the most recent example. Thought it happened over summer, Rowan has a multitude of online communication hubs and disturbingly, they all fell silent as their rights were taken away from them. In addition, Rowan hosted a gubernatorial debate on its campus this past election cycle. This event was not advertised to the extent that it should have been, nor was it recognized as an important event by the students on campus.

Rowan’s administration does not stress the importance of the political landscape to its students. Circling back to the debate, it was so poorly advertised that everyone who I talked to on that day did not know that the debate was happening on campus, if they even knew that it was happening at all. One would think that Rowan’s administration would have been proudly plastering ads for this event, not only across campus but across the internet as well, seizing this opportunity to have the entire state of New Jersey see Rowan’s name.

I would like to end by urging my fellow students to recognize how important the government is. Federal, state and local legislature affects you and is more powerful than you likely realize. I assure you that reading the news and contributing to politicians’ campaigns is not nearly as intimidating as you think it is.

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