If a community member walked on to USF soil on an average day, he or she would probably come to the conclusion that USF is an inactive campus. One might come to this conclusion due to the lack of organized events, minimal student participation in those events, and a general sense of apathy that plagues portions of the USF student body.
The truth is, many USF students are not involved on campus. New clubs often scramble to find members, while members of existing clubs are often drawn from a pool of students who are already involved in numerous other activities. Attendance at sports games at USF is incredibly low- for example; the women’s volleyball team had a great season in the fall and yet never even came close to selling out a game. Even media outlets like The Foghorn and
USFtv struggle to find committed students to take over leadership positions. It would appear to an outsider that most USF students fail to become involved or engaged with a campus organization or global cause.
Whether they are rallying against tuition hikes, or demonstrating for education reform, students at San Francisco State University and Berkeley seem to always be making headlines for their activism. USF, however, is rarely home to a soapbox and megaphone. What causes this difference in activism? Some might argue that state schools are often breeding grounds for student activity because state students are more concerned with government funding. USF is a private school and, therefore, student complaints about tuition are kept within the university, rather than expressed to the government. The Foghorn sees this situation a little bit differently.
Many institutions have angry students who demonstrate against something, but the minority of students who are involved at USF often advocate for something.
The reality is, much of the activity done by USF students is done behind closed doors or out of the public eye. USF’s Jesuit inspired motto, “Educating minds and hearts to change the world,” is exemplified through these students. Rather than rallying against military involvement in Haiti, students at USF chose to be proactive and host the Bingo for Haiti fundraiser, raising thousands of dollars in support of the relief effort. The event did not lead to violence, police involvement, or arrests, so the media greatly overlooked it. Even many USF students overlooked it. Every semester, USF students travel to foreign countries to provide leadership skills and invest their time in developing communities. This effort, although often unnoticed, arguably does significantly more good than a protest against world poverty.
Additionally, USF requires a semester of service learning from each student. This means that USF students are constantly engaged in the community, working one-on-one with needy individuals to create change.
Some students are not involved on campus, but have incredible opportunities off campus. USF has always taken pride in its ability to provide internship and career opportunities for students. These off-campus responsibilities are often not taken into account by skeptical members outside of the USF community.
The Foghorn certainly views student apathy as problematic and rampant at USF, but we also do acknowledge that there are a variety of ways to be active and engaged in the community. USF gives students the opportunity to make a difference that most other universities cannot rival. The students who take on these opportunities and create global change should be applauded and seen as an inspiration for the students who remain disengaged.