Separation by association


We sit on the benches behind IPJ to enjoy a wonderful view of San Diego. We gather in the study rooms of Copley Library the night before our heavily weighted midterm. We feast on Mongolian BBQ dishes, SLP Pho, Nutella crepes, and Uptown Funk sandwiches.

We join organizations such as the Changemaker Hub, Fraternity and Sorority Life, United Front Multicultural Center, and Torero Program Board. We participate in team activities through athletics, intramurals, and on-campus events.

We are the Toreros that make up the undergraduate label at the University of San Diego and we like to associate ourselves.

A couple of weeks ago in my Communication Theory class, my group and I had to construct theories based on our observations of USD culture. We observed that USD is a system of various groups of people who identify themselves with certain organizations in order to have some kind of commonality with others.

Our findings were based on observations we made at the SLP throughout the day. We noticed that various athletic teams, Fraternity and Sorority Life chapters, as well as members of other organizations sat and ate with the members of said organization. We concluded that these groups spend their extra hours time around those they spend a majority of their time with because it is what they have come to know and familiarize themselves with.

We have associated ourselves with labels that have created a comfortable space for us to feel welcomed and have enabled us to create relationships with others. But have these labels further divided how we view those in other organizations we are not apart of? It’s ironic to think communities of commonality could, in a sense, directly divide our Torero community as a whole.

But then maybe being a Torero is the one commonality that unites all of us on campus, and therefore separates us from other universities. The cycle seems to continue when it comes to comfortability and association of certain groups. To me, the best solution might be to keep challenging ourselves to engage with those outside our associated communities so we can have a better understanding of the many ways others go about living their lives.