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Opinion

Get active in orgs that matter

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September 22, 2006

With the start of a new school year comes the opportunity for students to get involved in numerous on-campus
organizations. A great way to meet new people, become familiar with important issues and make a difference.

One would think that amongst the thou- sands of students who attend UW-River Falls, there would be a fair amount of students who cared enough to join, or even lead, an on- campus organization. But the truth is that many student-led organizations have slumping attendance and a few are no longer active at UW-RF.

“The times just didn’t work for me,” said Seth Onsager, a former 4H member at UW-RF.

Onsager, like many students, had time constraint issues that prevented him from attending meetings on a regular basis.

College can have a hectic atmosphere where some students are on the go from the time they get up in the mornings to the time they fall asleep, yet there are students who take their 15 credits, come back from class, and spend hours browsing Facebook or playing video games.

Some organizations may have a revolving door of members that can’t commit enough time to them, but others, like Amnesty International, have died out completely on campus.

According to AI’s Web site, its vision is, “a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.”

This sounds like an organization that should have a place on every college campus, but sadly it is no longer active at UW-RF.

“Most students just aren’t that interested in important issues,” said Krista Knutson, the former president of Amnesty International’s UW-RF chapter.

Knutson said she believes organizations like Amnesty International and ECO Club don’t draw as many students as some of the more fun organizations.

“Some students are superficial, and they’re in denial about what is going on in the world,” Knutson said.
This is no doubt the case with some college students today. Many seem downright apathetic when it comes to learning about the world around them. They’d rather just go to class, do their coursework and go back to their dorms to hang out with friends for the rest of the night.

With some student-led organizations suffering from slumping attendance and others dying out completely, the question arises: What can be done to keep small- and intermediately-sized organizations alive on campus?

Students who are passionate about something should not be afraid to go out and find others who share their interests. For every apathetic student out there, there is also somebody who cares about important issues, but is too apprehensive to go out and join or form an organization that supports their interests. People like this need to be spurred along. Students who have these skills should not be afraid to join or start an organization. It is a worthwhile experience, and even if the organization happens to be small, it can still make a difference.

Derrick Knutson is a student at UW-River Falls.