To start off the year, I’d like to say I’m happy with where I am.

Hooray for UR.

But I’d like to highlight something that I sense to be an issue of great concern for many students last fall and spring, and something that I’ve already heard mentioned this semester ? UR students are apathetic.

I wrote on this point in our campus publication “The Messenger” last year, but I’d love to elucidate, and due to the nature of me being the producer and you the consumer, your only choice is to read or not to read, not to have me say something different.

I think this point is what is at the heart of the issue of lack of campus participation. Yes, there’s lots of work. Sure, it’s hard to get involved in an activity not knowing anyone.

The true root of this inactivity, in my opinion, is the mindset that our generation has of producer and consumer.

In other words, we’re so used to having so little choice to change, so used to this generational frustration of the way things are, that we have become trained, not to be apathetic, but to be under the impression that things are acceptable, satisfactory, alright, ok. Not great, but survivable.

To make an analogy in my own case, I don’t like the fact that my Hot Pockets have enzyme-modified cheese, but I’m not going to go out of my way to change it, after all, what could I, a mere peon, do? Frankly, a two-minute meal is a blessing for a guy like me.

So I believe it goes with issues of dissatisfaction with the university. It is not for lack of interest, or apathy, that students don’t take part in moves to change the university.

It is from a lack of seeing things done, lack of believing in their power as people, lack of understanding that things very well can be made better.

The disability we seem to have when it comes to making things better for ourselves, which I am attempting to say is a direct symptom of a consumer culture, transitions to campus activities through two routes.

One, if things aren’t great, then this is only for four years. It’s not too much to suffer. We go here to get our degrees, get out, and get a job, right? It’s that whole producer/consumer exchange.

At least, that’s what I hear all the time. Plus, for what seems to be quite a few students, the reality of going deeper and deeper into debt to be here, and thus the pressing issue of getting the most for our money, is more of a reality for parents than it is for students.

Two, in a related aspect, for that portion of our society with the privileges provided by class, college and the Bachelor’s degree that comes with it have become something of a continuation of high school.

So where is the motivation towards participation? Passive consumers don’t need it ? they pay the price and go.

Understood ? so what? Well, first off, let’s refrain from pointing fingers at abstract things.

Joan Didion writes in a recently published essay in “Political Fictions” that those in politics rather ignorantly blame the absence of voters at the polls on apathy ? perhaps we don’t have to be so ignorant.

Secondly, for those that are annoyed at students not participating, perhaps we need a thorough examination of our culture.

We need a thorough examination of the importance ? or lack thereof ? it places on collective participation and collective existence. We need a damned close analysis of the effects of class, consumerism, and the mentalities that inequality creates.

On the other hand, we could always just sit back and eat our Hot Pockets until we die.

Woodcock can be reached at

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Oftentimes, rather than embracing femininity as part of who they are, these characters only retain traditionally masculine traits.