On community


3K4B9251bwIn the wake of this week’s annual March of the Toreros, I am reminded of the incredible potential that USD has for a strong and cohesive community. I use that term community loosely because while it is often the first thing that students will praise about the school, it is also ironically one of the primary complaints as well.
This speaks to the duality of the word and also how it functions at USD. The positive aspect is that the campus is filled with many open-minded, welcoming individuals who seek deep, interpersonal relationships with one another. This helps students to find their own personal fit where they can be embraced and celebrated by their peers.
The more difficult aspect is that while certain groups can provide a home for individuals, it is among the different groups that there is a disconnect. Whether it be student athletes, Greeks, veterans, media groups, multicultural organizations, or any of the other student groups at school, all of them stand strongly on their own, putting forth amazing effort throughout the year to plan events, speakers and workshops. However, structured opportunities for interactions between them are few and far between. It takes an intentional event such as March of the Toreros to actually bring the entire USD community together and that needs to change.
So how do we work to activate some of that change? It starts and ends with one simple concept: participation. Though it would be great if everyone from all walks of life got involved with each other’s clubs, it’s not realistic. That is where the events come in. The simple act of attending a group’s event implies a level of recognition and respect that can help to bridge the separation gaps.
Consider last weekend. There were Greek Week skits, the “Dog Sees God” theatre production, and a baseball game all happening on campus. Although these events do not struggle with attendance, there is difficulty branching out to new audiences.  People went to their third year of Greek Week Skits. Or their second theatre production. Or their fifth baseball game.
Let’s make this spring season about firsts. Break out of your comfort zone and go to something for the first time on campus. It doesn’t matter what it is, but with all of the juniors back from being abroad, spring lends itself to a new event every week. There is the Chopped competition this week, Greek philanthropy events on the weekends, Relay For Life in April, PRIDE’s Drag Show also in April, and a number of awareness events from now until finals. My challenge to you? Just say yes.