Connecting the college to world causes

Why we need more events like ‘Mourn-In’

College of DuPage is a community college, and like any community college where no one lives on campus, it’s easy for students to feel isolated and detached. Commuting to school, attending class, and going home is a ritual all too familiar to many who haven’t found a way to get involved. However, a remarkable number of students and faculty took the time to participate in the “All School Mourn-In” April 22 to honor the 147 murdered Garissa University students in Kenya.

The event was a huge success, bringing together not only the students and faculty that participated, but also those that watched. The response to the Mourn-In was solidly positive, which left us wondering why this sort of school-wide participation doesn’t happen more often.

One of the more obvious reasons that student involvement is hard to come by is simply because of lack of interest and time. Despite a number of clubs and organizations on campus, there is the difficulty of finding the right one for you: the one that not only interests you, but also works with your schedule. And with so many community college students working jobs on the side, the time commitment can keep them from getting involved.

Still, the Mourn-In is proof that COD students are interested in campus events. They just need the right ones to get them motivated. As a community college, it’s difficult to find a cause that relates to everyone. Yet anyone can get behind the idea of honoring those affected in national and international tragedies because most people are aware of these types of events and have compassion for the victims. The Mourn-In attracted students because of the tragedy’s emotional impact around the world, and it was a worthy cause that warranted our attention.

What also made the Mourn-In successful was the widespread publicity covering the event. Posters were placed throughout campus on doors, walls, and in classrooms, and emails were sent to students encouraging them to participate. Many professors also showed their support and reminded their students to attend. This sort of promotion from professors can have a huge affect on the turnout of school events. Often times, students may not even notice posters or check their emails, but faculty support is key in raising student awareness of any school function.

While we hope no tragedies like the one in Kenya occur again, the fact of the matter is that world news events do inspire students to band together for a cause they are passionate about. Instead of encouraging students to buy holiday-themed pasta dishes in the cafeteria, the school should be hosting more events like the Mourn-In to get them involved in world affairs, and give them a chance to participate in truly meaningful and interactive events on campus. We are in college, and we want to do something worthwhile and important with the time we have.

There will always be the challenge for community colleges to get students interested, motivated, and able to contribute to life on campus. However, COD has long fought the stereotype and has broken boundaries that other community colleges haven’t. That’s why we have faith that the school can do even more to provide its students with not only a world-class education, but also some great college memories.

And so, let the Mourn-In be the stepping stone for more active participation in events centered on world issues in the future. It’s no secret that it’s tough to get a community college to unite together. However, this is proof that with the right cause and publicity, especially at a place as dedicated COD, it is possible.