Editorial: Why you should attend more UP events

By The Beacon | February 20, 2019 8:15pm

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The turnout for the Title IX forum last November was much smaller than expected, leading to a more intimate discussion about Title IX policies and resources. 

by Jennifer Ng / The Beacon

UP puts on events all the time...We're only six weeks into the semester, and clubs and organizations have already hosted a variety of events — from diversity and inclusion programs' Diversity Dialogues, which was packed with speakers, events and forums to the annual Mazzocco Lecture. Did you attend any of these events?

If your answer is no, then unfortunately, you are in the majority. 

While we consider Diversity Dialogues to have been a success, the lack of student participation in the several events that happen throughout the year suggests a larger problem with our campus culture that needs to change.

We aren’t the only people who think so. Several of our editorial board members have had professors, club leaders and ASUP leaders voice their frustration to us about a trend they’ve noticed: little interest among students when it comes to on-campus events.

ASUP junior class senator Nick Owen has been vocal about his desire for students to be more active members of the UP community, especially in regards to events.

“What's the point of spending however much money going to this school for four years if the only thing you want is a diploma?” Owen said. “It’s my view that students should be impacted by their community just as much as they impact their community.”

Every week there is some sort of event happening on campus, whether that be an orchestra concert, a visiting author, a forum, a speech on any number of topics or the countless events clubs put on. Clubs like La Mesa Redonda, Active Minds and Actually Gavin Improv are just a few of the dozens of clubs hosting events regularly. Often, these kinds of events are left with empty chairs.

Why? 

Because UP students are not making them a priority. Many of our Beacon staff members have gone to report on or photograph events and have come back disappointed with the turn-out. Many of them said how cool the event was or how interesting they found it and wish more people would’ve been able to experience that, too. 

Last semester, we previewed a Title IX event and sent a photographer and reporter to capture it. According to the reporter, only two students showed up to learn more about consent and Title IX policies. While this is a dramatic example, this isn’t the only event that has had this low-attendance problem.

In college, we all juggle a lot of responsibilities and busy class schedules (including night classes that may prevent you from going anyway), so it can feel hard to carve out time for one more activity or event. But one hour out of your week or even your month could make a huge difference — not only in the way we can come together as a community to support our peers and their hard work, but also to help us gain new, meaningful knowledge beyond our experience or major.

College is one of the only times you can hear famous authors — like Martín Alberto Gonzalez or Rebecca Skloot — speak about their book, learn a traditional Aztec dance and hear from a professor about a subject they’re passionate about. 

Not only is it good to support your fellow students who put in so much work for these events, but they also can be valuable learning opportunities that will be hard to find once you leave The Bluff.

In the coming months, many more events will happen. Speakers will come to campus and share their research, singers will put on performances and clubs will put on their annual cultural nights that they have been preparing for months. Take advantage of the opportunities available and start attending more events. You might be surprised by how much you will learn or what really sticks with you. 

Some of the most important lessons that you learn in college happen outside of the classroom. It's just as much your responsibility to expand your horizons and engage with your diverse community as it is to complete an assignment for a class.

Some professors may offer extra credit to attend events and often the free food is motivation enough, but next time you are thinking of staying in to watch Netflix while taking a break from studying, see what events are happening instead. 

These opportunities don’t happen every day and they surely don’t present themselves often in the ‘real world,’ so put your tuition to good use, go outside your comfort zone and get involved.

Here are some upcoming events you may want to attend. Check Engage for more information. These only scratch the surface, but we encourage you to try to attend one in the next couple weeks. 

If you’re a club or event leader and want to spread awareness about your event, send in an opinion about why students should go or why it’s important. You can also let us know about it by submitting a story idea. If you attend an event you love, send in an opinion piece.

Thursday, February 21st:

Pasta Feed by Italian Club 5:45 p.m. in Shiley 123

Enjoy pasta catered by Bandini Pizza and Pasta, listen to Italian music and elect club leaders for next year.

Screening of “Complicit” by Ecology Club 7:30 p.m. BC auditorium 

Attend a private screening of the award-winning documentary about the smartphone production workers’ health crisis.

Pilots Paint for Black History Month 7 p.m. St Mary’s

In honor of Black History Month, Pilots Paint will focus on themes of oppression, diversity and social justice.

Saturday, February 23rd:

Angel of the Amazon: A New American opera  7:30 p.m. BC auditorium 

This free production explores the story of Sr. Dorothy Stang and her 2005 martyrdom as she worked to help the poor in the Brazilian rainforest.

Monday, February 25th: 

Centering Prayer 10 a.m. Upper Room, Chapel of Christ the Teacher

This 20 to 30 minute session led by professor of Theology Rachel Wheeler will focus on an ancient prayer form that cultivates a quiet sense of God’s presence in an individual's life.

Tuesday, February 26th: 

DIY Workshop 6 p.m. Pilot Space (Shiley 110)

Learn how to knit, crochet, sew, 3D print, laser cut and more. 

Russian Collusion by UP Orchestra 7:30 p.m. BC auditorium 

This free performance will be narrated by UP’s provost Thomas Greene and features the works of three different Russian composers. 

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