We’ve had our first taste of Cleveland weather this season and suddenly the sounds of students’ complaints are beginning to reach our ears. Maybe we just haven’t been listening too closely yet or the weather really did have something to do with the rate of whining on campus, but either way, complaining is on the rise and we want to put a stop to it before Cleveland winter hits full force. Like parents everywhere hissed to their kids, “You better stop that complaining before I give you something to complain about.”
The top complaints remain the same: the food at Leutner is no good, there’s nothing to do on campus, students lack school spirit, there’s not enough student involvement on campus, students are over-involved on campus. Upperclassmen are used to these soon-to-be winter doldrums, as well as the litany of typical Case Western Reserve University complaints, but the first-years are just starting to mutter grumpily under their breath. Frankly, first-year students, don’t follow our examples.
Clearly, our whining about food quality hasn’t gotten us anywhere if freshmen are still complaining about it. Yet Bon Appétit has always been receptive whenever comments are left for their chefs. Students have voiced frequent concerns over campus safety and security, yet the student state of the university was not well attended. And finally, several groups on campus take issue with the state of financial transparency of each umbrella student organization, but SEC has yet to handle any formal complaints.
Where was our follow-through, upperclassmen? We’ve had plenty of opportunities to rise up and leave our campus a better, more efficient place than when we arrived. Instead, we’ve sat back and left the field open for someone else to come in and take the initiative on whatever issues matter to us most on campus. And although it’s rarely ever publically acknowledged, it’s the same students over and over again at campus forums and meetings, answering the calls for ideas and suggestions. To that 10 percent of upperclassmen, we congratulate you, but we also know there is 90 percent of a class either unable or unwilling to publically make their voices heard in a constructive way. You’re paying $50,000 a year to study at CWRU – you should make it worth your time and money.
As for first-years, upperclassmen might tell you a lot of different things – your opinions don’t matter, the university’s never going to listen to students, there’s just not enough time to put effort into making a difference. And frankly, that’s just not true. The tiny fraction of upperclassmen who make efforts to improve the campus have brought great things to CWRU for a variety of students (the first-ever International Student Orientation, a winning football record that’s spanned three years, and even Humans vs. Zombies), but we’re only working on a tiny percentage of our potential power. If the class of 2014 could encourage all of their members to put forth an effort to improve some aspect of the campus (whether it be sustainability, housing, or food quality), think of the incredible things your class could accomplish in just four short years.