From the strike of 1968 to today’s student organized rallies, SF State has a legacy of student involvement and activism — as it should.
Through the years, there has been a growing sense of disengagement from the student perspective. Unfortunately, this has resulted in ambivalence toward the University and its community.
A University — or any public institution for that matter — that does not have the input and voice of the community, lacks the fundamentals of what a democracy truly entails.
SF State, like all California State Universities, has the responsibility to uphold its mission statement, from which SF State’s final goal is “serving the communities with which its students and faculty are engaged.”
This goal is a two-way street. We, as a body of students, cannot expect an adequate response, productive results — or even an audience — if we are not consistently involved in the going-ons of our University. Having a present administration that is open to hearing the voice of its community is just as necessary as having a full and present community willing to offer feedback.
In May 2012, Xpress welcomed the newly hired SF State President Leslie E. Wong, embracing his sense of student engagement he practiced as president at Northern Michigan University, which we hoped he would bring with him.
President Wong delivered.
Since becoming head of administration at SF State, President Wong has made himself available to exclusive interviews with Xpress, has attended sporting events and invited students, staff and faculty to participate in events such as the Campus Safety Forum and Strategic Planning, among other events.
Bottom line: President Wong is present, he is available; he is a real, reachable administrator.
Now, we as students, need to be informed. We need to follow the day-to-day dealings of the University and participate moving forward. We cannot expect anyone to answer us if we are not present.
Active awareness of any community you’re a part of, not just now, but as we grow into full-fledged adults in the real world, is vital to being an active and informed member of society.
SF State not only gives students a chance to learn from their classes, but an opportunity to learn how to be an active member of a community. Whether that means participating in student government, volunteering to community causes or simply keeping up with the latest campus news — the opportunities are out there for us to get involved.
It’s all too easy to criticize a system — whether political, scholastic or corporate — but always more difficult to provide constructive alternatives. It’s certainly healthy to critically analyze how a community could be better but lack of community involvement is just as bad as contributing to a faulty system; involvement is necessary.
As a campus and individuals, we should take advantage of the outlets on campus to make our voice heard. Write letters to the editor of Xpress and voice your concerns — or applauds — of campus issues. Write to our administration, such as President Wong or Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell, both who avidly invite student discussion.
Taking an active role in being aware of the community, and even contributing to its betterment, not only makes you a more active citizen but sets the example for others to do the same. Ultimately, when more people as a mass contribute to their communities and are aware of local issues, that is when true change happens on the larger scale.