Editorial: ‘Turn and face the strain, ch-ch-changes’

It’s a weird parallel to consider, thinking that a university of about 10,000 students in Northwest Indiana is somehow representative of the change in our country and the conflict that goes with that, but it’s hard to deny. There was hostility back in 2014, when Chancellor Thomas Keon first announced that we would be unifying Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central as one. Similarly, there was hostility towards a majority of President Barack Obama’s proposed plans, be it the Affordable Care Act or recognizing same-sex marriage. These are things that haven’t changed, as our students and faculty from both campuses are still struggling with coming together as Purdue University Northwest, and Republicans still rally against the Affordable Care Act on a daily basis.

Despite all this hostility, both our students and the citizens of our nation seem to settle on being apathetic. We complain, but neither students nor citizens apparently vote. Just as nearly half of the eligible voters didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election, only about 2,300 people cast their vote for the name of the PNW Pride mascot. Regardless, people will still complain that our university mascot is now named “Leo” (or that it’s even The Pride at all) almost as much as Americans will complain about Donald Trump becoming the president-elect.

The only entities responding practically to any of the dissatisfaction are the United States government, PNW administration and a few student organizations. Instead of going out ourselves and actually voting or making our own change, we end up relying on presidential figures, be it candidates or elects, coming out and telling us what we should have or should be doing. We have the counseling center at PNW sending out emails, reminding us to stay calm and that they’re available to us. We have PNW’s Social Justice Club reminding us that both peace and protest are options for any disagreements with our government. We have the newly formed student organization Young Americans for Liberty reminding us that we can speak our mind in safety. Yet here most of us are, seemingly unmoving.

Regardless of where you fall on the 2016 presidential election, one thing is undeniable: those who wanted change showed up. Knowing and utilizing the opportunities we have as students and as voters is critical in making any kind of change, no matter if it’s liberal or conservative, university or nationwide. If students don’t like something at the university, then they should get involved with their student government and other options available to them on campus. If voters don’t like something going on in the United States government, then they should also get involved, even if it’s just at the local level. Instead of focusing on hostility, we should focus on how to make things happen.