I have personally always taken a backseat approach by not making an effort to be heard. It has always been this way in my personal life as you can ask anyone that knows me and they will say if you look up “non-confrontational” in the dictionary you will see a photo of me. For a long time, I avoided every argument like the plague, and I thought this was a good and simple way of life. Nothing too fancy for a simple island boy like me.
But this was not because of ignorance on my part but mostly because I preferred to focus on my school curriculum and not take on extracurricular activities. However, upon entering college, I found myself getting involved in almost everything. Here at the Universities at Shady Grove campus where we have nine different institutions on one campus, there are many moving parts that I quickly realized can make a difference in how/ if I enjoy attending this campus. So, after one year of being involved, what are the benefits of becoming an active voice on the campus?
- Engagement- By being an active voice on the campus, you can meet and connect with like-minded people. This allows you to realize that you may not be alone in your thinking. An excellent example of this is the return of pizza by the slice at the Green Grove Café. A change that came about after several groups of students voiced their opinions and realized that they all had the same conclusion that having this available was greatly desired.
- Empowerment- Society is inherently unjust. This feeling I have gathered is often felt by students based on the fact that they are not attending their main campus. They feel unjustly treated because they are not experiencing benefits that they think are offered to students attending their respective institution’s main campus. However by being an involved student on the campus one of the advantages is that you have the power to make a difference. As an interested student, you are empowered to use your voice to share your feelings. Although it may sound cliché, you can make a change. An example of this can be seen in the recent structural changes to the UMES Construction Management program, which came about because a group of motivated students addressed significant shortfalls in the program and requested much-needed improvements.
Why have I chosen to blog about this? No other reason than the fact the USG Student Council Elections are soon approaching. Many don’t often realize the importance of getting students’ voices heard about topics that concern and interest them. So I wanted to use my personal story of my back seat approach to share how this led to countless times where I was not able to speak up, where I simply went along with whatever was happening and when I never got answers because I did not ask.
The takeaway is, APPLY, APPLY, APPLY …. for a position on the USG Student Council, as it is important to have your voice heard! You will undoubtedly improve yourself and the USG student life. You can make changes. You can stop changes that would increase students’ hardship. And You have the ability to decide on what is important to you on the USG campus. Application link here.