Lack of student body opinion at Quinnipiac is disturbing
When I ran for and subsequently accepted the position of Opinion Editor here at the Chronicle, I had high expectations for how this section would grow and develop over the course of the year. I envisioned a page full of diverse opinion both in three areas. Number one, I hoped for diversity in the subjects written about. Secondly, diversity of opinion on each of these subjects was an ideal. Lastly, I wanted a diverse group of individuals contributing to the content of the pages, week after week.
As we sit here in late February, already a month into the spring semester, I have mixed feelings about how my goals are being achieved. My first goal has certainly been attained. These pages have contained commentary covering everything from the fall presidential election and its aftermath to senior social life to stereotypes against women to the recent debate about LIVESTRONG bracelets, just to name a few. I am happy with the content that has been produced thus far.
Similarly, my second goal of diversity of opinion on the subjects covered has also largely been achieved. Readers of these pages certainly found columns both in favor of and against President Bush, both for re-election and in general. I hope this strong political debate continues even now that the election season has passed. Recent issues, such as the bracelets and the virtues of Greek life, have also brought spirited opinions from both sides of the debate.
On the third point, however, that of a diverse group of individuals contributing to the Opinion section, I would have to give a grade of F. Week after week, it seems like the same people contribute to this section, and if they don’t, it becomes a race against time to fill the space using other means. As it stands now, I have only one or two consistent staff writers that I can count on, and they are certainly entitled to a week off when necessary.
There is plenty of blame to go around for this obvious problem, and I’ll start by taking some. As editor, it is my responsibility for finding meaningful content to fill the pages. By advertising on the pages, I’ve done what I can do in print each week. Calling for people to write opinion can be difficult because it’s hard to tell people what to write about – ultimately, it’s your opinion on a particular subject. However, if you have any suggestions for how I can personally generate more interest in writing for this section, do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew.Atchue@quinnipiac.edu.
I also think the Chronicle’s Editorial Board as a whole should also take some blame, and not just for lack of interest in this section, but others as well. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think enough students even know how to get involved with the paper. With a few issues as exceptions, editors write far too many of the stories, signaling a failure to attract quality writers to the paper’s regular staff. Surely, we can improve as a Board.
Turning back to this section specifically, the responsibility ultimately falls with the student body of Quinnipiac. Even if you don’t know exactly how to get involved with the Chronicle, you would have to be buried under Sleeping Giant to not know that the paper exists. Though we can improve our advertising methods, it is the student’s responsibility to seek information out if he or she cares to.
Thus, whether or not students here care is the root of my question. It continuously baffles me to consider the fact that at a university with roughly 5,000 undergraduates, only 2 or 3, at most, of those 5,000 care enough about a subject each week to write and submit their opinion about it. I find it downright ridiculous.
Is it apathy about the world in which we live and issues affecting it? Is it laziness? A lack of time? An apprehension about having your opinion out there for all to see? I don’t know, but there’s no doubt it’s disturbing.
When I attended the annual College Media Convention last November in Nashville, I took sessions where other Opinion section editors would complain about the problem of having too many editorials, opinions, and letters to the editor. At this point, that is a problem I could only wish to have. Granted, some of the colleges being represented were much larger, but not all of them.
Along with the class work, social life, and parties, college is about forming opinions and theories about issues surrounding our lives and people that impact them. Reading these pages would be a lot more interesting if more people were to get involved and spark even more debate. That is what an Opinion section is designed to do. Unless more students start making their voices heard on this campus, I might as well print two blank pages one week. Though easy to skip over, they would represent the collective opinion of Quinnipiac University on anything that week.