We’ll do it our way

Our generation is often called apathetic.

We don’t vote.

We don’t protest.

But last year, the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that focuses on civil engagement in the United States, found that about 3.3 million students between the ages of 16 and 24 volunteered in 2005 — about 30 percent of the entire age group. That number has risen about 20 percent since 2001.

The increase indicates that it really is our generation making its mark; it’s not been typical of this age group in the past.

Last March, the corporation estimated that about 20,000 students gave up their spring break to help rebuild the still-ravaged Gulf Coast two years after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Kent State students were part of this effort. About 400 students traveled to Biloxi, Miss., in March 2006 as part of the university-sponsored Kent State United for the Gulf Coast. After a successful trip, the group organized students to travel back to Biloxi the following January and again last March.

This year, the group decided to forgo the winter break trip and, instead, focus on the spring one.

It makes sense. A lot of planning and funds have to go into a trip such as this, and it’s admirable that administrators take the time to organize it at all. After all, college students are adults, and if they wanted to do some good, they should be able to do it on their own.

And some students plan to do just that. When Kent State United for the Gulf Coast announced that it was only organizing one trip this year, three students took it upon themselves to create Kent State University Student Leaders United, a group of previous volunteers who are currently raising money to make a trip of their own this winter.

Not only are these students willing to give up their winter breaks, but they are going out of their way for the privilege to do so.

The Corporation for National and Community Service thinks some of this rising activism is the result of living through the tragedy of Sept. 11.

Maybe it is. Add on the war, terrorism and natural disasters that have plagued our society since, and it becomes obvious that our generation has had ample opportunity to volunteer. We’ve been needed.

But others have been needed in the past, and not all have delivered. We have.

So why have we received this apathy label?

We don’t turn out at the polls in droves — even if we should. We don’t often fill the streets with signs and shouts.

But we’re making a difference in our own, more personal way. Maybe our generation has just been taught that if you want a job done right, do it yourself. Rather than trying to affect the big picture from the top down, we’re focusing on solutions we can touch.

A hammer.

A cup of soup.

A home.

Apathetic? We think not.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.