By: Nelofar Sultan
Is it only me or does everybody check their Facebook or Twitter first thing in the morning? I find myself restless unless I check my news feed early in the morning. Now, you might think I do it because I am ‘addicted’ to Facebook and social media, but that’s not completely true. As an international student, living more than three thousand miles away from my family, I have to try my best to keep in touch with my friends and family in any way possible. Of course, the ten hours’ time difference and a busy college schedule makes connecting with them a lot harder, let alone being up-to-date with the events around the world. As a millennial it is almost my unpublicized duty to be aware of everything that goes around me.
Since coming to Dakota State University, I have observed a lot of things, not only around campus but also about American culture and American youth. Although, many things are similar when it comes youth and their behavior in general, what I found most disturbing and unfortunate among the youth at DSU is their lack of knowledge about the current events around the world. Of course, bigger and spotlighted events like the Paris attack, Donald Trump’s ridiculous comments or the prevailing dangers of ISIS in Syria do not go unnoticed by all of us, thanks to the readily available internet connection on campus. However, smaller and more miniscule events certainly don’t get much attention from the DSU students. That in itself is a major problem on my level.
Not knowing about our surroundings is dangerous, especially in this modern day and age, where, with blink of an eye, the world could turn upside down. We lose the right to claim our universal rights if we are not aware of them, just like we lose our political, emotional and social compatibility if we don’t care or know about the predicaments happening around us. It is a rule of thumb that unawareness leads to misunderstandings and assumptions, which then in turn create conflicts; hence, it is not surprising to see this phenomenon happening repeatedly here at DSU. While many students are not aware of other cultures around them, many tend to show indifference. The abundance of indifference creates lack of empathy and human connection: the mere qualities that make us human beings, which is why as a community it is our social responsibility to raise awareness among each other so that misunderstandings and conflicts are avoided.
While getting information about anything nowadays is as easy as it could be, it is important that the DSU community does something more than just expecting the students to know about the events happening around the world. One of the best ways we can achieve this goal is to actually and literally start a conversation. For the conversation to happen, students need a safe place, where opinions are shared and respect is not a choice. Such an opportunity could easily be accomplished if we create a club.
A Current Events Club on campus will be the first step. It will be the start of a better-informed (not to be confused with a know-all) student body; a place where students can share and discuss topics or events interesting to them, where it’s okay to geek about a random article in the newspaper, or share your opinion about Obama’s State of the Union Address. This safe haven could be a place where students express their views and emotions about the refugee crisis in the Middle East. The Current Events Club could be the voice for those who care to be well-informed. After all, an aware population makes a welcoming community and that is what DSU thrives on.
As for me, my ‘addiction’ to Facebook will probably continue but so will my quest for being a well-informed member of the Dakota State community.