OP/ED: Students Need To Accept Responsibility For Event Cancellation

It is Hispanic Heritage month and Mercy College is truly celebrating.

Now whether students are attending is another story.

The college, which has been known through its history for helping provide education to a large hispanic community, had lined up some interesting and fun events to celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture. From Ted Talks to Fiestas, Mercy is showing how proud they are of their students and rightfully so. Unfortunately, many of the events scheduled were cancelled due to poor student attendance.

According to College Board, 36 percent of the colleges student body is made of up hispanic students. Most recently, the White House designated Mercy as one of the “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education.” The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics was created to tackle educational disparities in Hispanic communities and to recognize organizations working to close the gaps. The announcement of this year’s “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education” was made at the kickoff of Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the White House initiative.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Executive Director Alejandra Ceja said, “There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential.”

While Mercy’s retention rate is less than desired, some students feel the reason is because there are at time a lack of a social atmosphere on the campus. However, how can a college build school spirit and a social atmosphere if its students appear to be habitually unsocial and uninvolved? Or is the problem that the college isn’t doing a good enough job at advertising these events effectively?

The Impact decided to ask students of different majors why they do or don’t attend on campus events, and the feed back was both interesting and expected.

Mike Carlos, a junior in Mercy’s Music Technology program and an on campus resident, admits that although Mercy has a hand in it, this problem of attendance may very well lie in the hands of our student body.

“I don’t really hear about anything regarding events and I live on campus. Also I don’t really go because other people don’t go, and obviously if no one goes then others won’t go because people like to go in groups,” said Carlos.

He’s not sure what can be done to improve the attendance, and referred to certain events as “lame.”

“I feel like the only way to get people to go is to change their perspective because some students here already have their minds made up about the school’s social events.  They’re really negative at times,” he added.

Is our student body too self involved? Are most of  us just complainers instead of action takers? And if so what can we do to be better?

Brendan Carey, a junior in the media studies program, said “The only reason I don’t really go to events on campus is because I live off campus, so I’m not really aware of whats going on.”

Getting commuters to attend on campus events has been an obstacle that student life has tried time and time again to overcome. Although it still remains a large obstacle, the college has made great strides to address this issue by creating a calendar of events and by creating events that are targeted towards commuters specifically. These events include small socials where commuters can get to know each other and other on campus residents.

Carey, a former resident of the dorms and the hotels did have criticism to share about the way that the college and student life is lackluster when it comes to starting programs students really care to be a part of.

“I tried creating so many events and clubs so that students would have something to do on campus but Mercy shot all of then down. So I don’t go to anything now.”

For example he stated he had 30 interested students in an intramural tennis club, and that it went “nowhere.”

It seems that the problem does indeed lie on both sides but the simple fact is that Mercy itself can only do so much. They plan the events but they can’t force students to attend which leaves the responsibility of attendance in the hands of the student body.

The more you attend, the more interest you create, and the more likely bigger and better events will be planned.

In some corners of the campus, some whisper about the lack of school spirt and how boring the campus could be. Yet what are they doing to improve the conditions that they are unhappy with?

Your college experience is what you make of it, and if we remain closed minded about events than the experience isn’t going to be all that we may have wanted it to be. As millennials, we have complete knowledge on how to use the Internet and need to take it upon ourselves to search the calendar of events and not have to rely on flyers to get our attention.

The website has events. The app has events. In your email are notifications of events. It is up to you to get off the couch, get out of bed and appreciate college for what it is – an opportunity for knowledge and fresh experiences.

The college is indeed trying to tackle the lackluster on campus life issue – could they be doing a better job? Probably. Whatever the reason one thing remains clear, the school and the students are both at fault here, and hopefully we can see change on both sides going forward so that the next award that is given our to the college regarding its excellence we can celebrate physically at an event and not just as a website posting.

Attendance is key for us to to come together and be proud of the institution that has given us so much.