BY TYRELL RUSSELL
There lies a grave danger in being able to matriculate through a university in the same exact mental state that you entered. Before I completely go in, let me start off by saying that SMU is a wonderful university that provides plenty of resources for students who want to accept that great challenge of “Changing the World.” Our school offers a variety of well-funded programs including Engaged Learning, The Clinton Global initiative, an outstanding athletics department, etc. that feeds the innovative hunger of SMU.
Ironically, however, SMU doesn’t have enough students to meet the needs of the resources. The idea alone is quite absurd. Never have I been in an environment where the resources provided for the students outweigh the number of students who want to take advantage of them. So, how did we enter into this conundrum? Well, SMU, albeit a university, reflects the childish selfishness of much of upper class America. Year after year, SMU manages to recruit a significant amount of students who have never left, not even vacationed out of, their social sphere. The sight is really quite amusing. With each entering class I witness a legion of young women with bone straight hair, designer bags, short shorts and designer sandals. Young men sport polo shirts, pastel colored shorts and Sperry boat shoes. Did I miss this conference call? The problem in this homogeneity is that it allows, even encourages, students to wrap themselves in the same social atmosphere they experienced at home. With this type of coddling, how do we, as a university, even begin to bring up discussions of inclusiveness? If I am able to thrive, in the purest sense, by staying within the same demographic that I have always been accustomed to, then what in the hell would make me leave that comfort zone? Certainly not the promise of being called a “World Changer”.
Here’s the truth. SMU is a breathing, functional paradox. Not only does SMU call itself a university, which I will blindly accept, but also its slogan is “Where world changers are shaped”. Such braggadocios terminology for an institution that also silently prides itself on its “Rich southern boy” culture. Don’t believe me? Just venture out toward Dallas Hall on a Saturday morning before a home football game. Better yet, on a Thursday night as dedicated students stumble out of taxicabs in a drunken haze. Fast-forward to these same students 10 years later, and we get the immature child that too often personifies America, inundated with self-interest and narrow-mindedness.
SMU has the potential to be a full-fledged world-changing institution. I will admit that college parties, fake IDs and drinking are as engrained into our society as the hotdog. But when such actions are the takeaways from a college experience, something has gone horribly, deeply wrong. A world changer goes to college with an expectation of growth. He or she drools at the opportunity to meet people who are completely different from them. Their self-identity manifests itself through the distinctiveness they see in their peers.
This article is a full-length mirror and was meant to stir the emotions of those who fit some of the profiles described. If we truly, genuinely, desire to make a change in this world, the thought of being confined to one group of people should be sickening. As world changers we realize that in order to affect positive change in this world, our knowledge and acceptance of others must run deep. After all, this interaction and mingling is the foundation of our growth as human beings. Therefore, it cannot be absurd that this is principle is upheld at SMU. I look forward to an SMU that is so diverse that the thought of applying a particular culture to it becomes laughable. Then, and only then, will there be inclusivity and an adequate environment for world changers. This leads me to a serious charge. If SMU cannot produce a substantial group of world changers from its current pool of students, then we have to recruit those students that are destined to change the world. And with that, let the work begin.