As we prepared to join other student organizations tonight at Kent State University NAACP chapter’s meet and greet in Oscar Ritchie Hall, we started thinking about what exactly there is for people to get involved in at Kent State. Don’t get us wrong – we’re very excited about this meeting. It’ll be a chance for students to come together and hear about exactly what each student group does and has to offer all students at the university.
We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never really considered getting involved in a student group before. Kent State’s demographics don’t really paint a picture of a place where student involvement and participation develop easily. For starters, around 60 percent of us don’t even live on campus. It’s hard to convince a commuter student to invest a few more hours or another round-trip back to the campus for a meeting that only lasts an hour or two.
It also doesn’t help when nearly 90 percent of Kent State students live in-state and when almost 50 percent of us live in counties that border Portage– staying here on weekends is boring. The allure of seeing friends and family at home and the need of many students to work on the weekends for spending money or even to pay for school is stronger than that of a few campus programming events.
The university and its student organizations, however, haven’t done a great job of getting the population that hangs around on the weekends involved. Admittedly, events such as Midnight Movies are a huge success, and Undergraduate Student Government leaders told us to expect more things like this at the beginning of this semester. But both President Lester Lefton and Provost Robert Frank told us that out-of-state recruitment is a priority, and that equals more bored Kent State students wondering what more there is to do other than get drunk or, as Lefton sticks to, get another tattoo.
At tonight’s KSU-NAACP meeting, we’ll be passing out fliers calling for guest columnists to contribute to this Forum page. We also encourage all of you to get involved in the discussions sparked by comments on our stories and message boards at KentNewsNet.com. If you have ideas about how we all can get more engaged and involved as Kent State students, by all means, send them our way. We’re all for helping promote involvement at the university, but we can only be a catalyst and urge our fellow student organizations to innovate new ways of engaging the student body.
That’s where you come in.
At some point, we each have to do our part. The campus doesn’t come knocking on your door to ask you to get involved. If the attitude toward getting involved feels apathetic, it’s because it feels as if we’ve barely made an effort to rally together at all. We’ve been urging support for all kinds of things lately – hurricane relief on Monday, common courtesy Friday. Only you can seek out what there is to do at Kent State, get involved and know that, because of it, you and your university are better because of it.
The above is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.