Letter to the Editor

There is a problem here at Lawrence. We like to call it “creeping apathy” because, like creeping vines, it is very pervasive. People tend to ignore it because it’s daunting to overcome.
But the attitudes it shapes work their way into our communal culture: Deference to authority. Unwillingness to stand apart from the crowd – even when not doing so means perpetuating injustice. An attitude that we as citizens are powerless to make change. A plethora of excuses, most based on our heavy workload. A na’ve assumption that someone else will take the initiative to bring about necessary change.
And sometimes, true apathy: a choice to simply not care, because it is easier to ignore problems than to deal with them.
This may seem an unjustifiably harsh accusation. After all, there are many groups on campus working toward solving environmental, political and social problems. But while they are doing great work, the Lawrentians involved in these clubs comprise only a small portion of Lawrence’s community. Many of us are rarely aware of the events they organize.
Creeping apathy can only be eradicated by an overall change in the attitudes of the Lawrence community. Lawrence does not lack activism itself, but rather the culture of activism: the attitude that change is important and attainable, and that we have a responsibility to affect it.
Why do we think that this culture of activism is important? Because the world is rife with tremendous problems that are not being adequately addressed. We don’t need to list the things that are wrong in the world – we can all agree that there are far too many.
However, too few people are actually working to change this. Too many of us are victims of creeping apathy and are leaving the problems unaddressed. As young people at Lawrence, we have the power and the responsibility to at least attempt to alleviate some of the problems facing our generation. We must decide to make a difference… or to not.
The Activism Catalyst Team, a newly-formed student group dedicated to encouraging activism, urges you to step up to the plate by accepting the One-Hour-a-Week Challenge: Spend just one hour a week doing something that makes the world a better place.
This could include discussing hot topics among people with differing viewpoints, volunteering or becoming better informed. If every Lawrentian does this, we will collectively spend 74,308 hours per calendar year making the world a better place!
-Marika Straw ’13 and
Adam Kranz ’13