By Justin Sweitzer
As I met with Dean of Students Donavan McCargo for an article in this issue of The Keystone on the new Bias Response Task Force, I was struck by something he said toward the end of the interview. McCargo told me, “We have an obligation as members of this community to make this place the best place possible.”
In my final year as a student here at KU, those words have taken on a new importance compared to the first time I heard them during my freshman year.
Heading into college, you do so with the idea that college will mold you into who you are meant to become. Your classes and pre-professional experiences will provide the bedrock of your post-academic life, while the personal experiences will create lasting memories that you will always cherish.
What is often overlooked however is the impact that students have on their university.
The actions of students, both good and bad, can have a significant impact on the university and its professional and cultural standing. Take Penn State as a recent example. The actions of a select group of fraternity members have cast the university and its Greek organizations in a negative light.
A negative reputation of your university can adversely affect the value of your own degree as you look to move beyond academic life and into the next chapter of your life.
It might be wise to think twice before posting controversial posters or hanging signs out of your apartment windows that tell girls who their daddies are now. Is that really the vibe you want to be associated with your university when you present your resume to a potential employer?
The message here is simple: create the type of environment you want to be associated with KU and ultimately yourself. As a student and representative of the university, the reputation you create is directly tied to the reputation of the university, and we all want to be part of a community that is lauded and praised, rather than criticized and looked down upon.