Yearly Pond(er) 2015-16: When your peers motivate you

The end of the 2015-16 school year is upon us, but by the looks of things, who would even know? The weather has yet to commit to springtime sunshine, construction on campus is as disrupting as ever and class exams are still being handed out as midterms even though the halfway-point was three weeks ago. I am a person who is very much in need of closure, especially when it comes to finishing something as major as college, so how do I cope with my undergraduate career coming to an end when it doesn t actually feel like it is? One thing that helps is taking a retrospective look at what has happened in the community over the last year. Campus activism made some significant strides this year, more so than I ve seen in any of my four years at UO. During fall term when the nation was abuzz about the Black Lives Matter movement, college campuses around the country marched in solidarity with the various young men who died at the hands of U.S. law enforcement throughout the year, and East 13th Street in Eugene was not left empty.

In addition to a rally put on by the UO Black Women of Achievement, the Black Student Task Force came up with a list[1] of 12 demands on Nov. 17 for university administration in an effort to counter a number of racial issues on campus. Items on the list include changing certain building names that are KKK-related and integrating several historically Black fraternity and sorority organizations into UO Greek life. The list has rightfully been acknowledged by administration[2], and in a letter[3] by President Schill and VP for Equity and Inclusion, Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh, it is clear that everyone from administration to faculty and staff and student groups and individuals will (finally) be working towards a more inclusive university beginning in the fall of 2016. Maybe one day, UO will be where it is with racial diversity awareness and implementation as it is with LGBTQ rights and recognition. On a list by College Choice[4], UO was ranked 42 out of 50 Best LGBT Friendly Colleges and Universities in 2016. This is the result of all the groups and individuals involved in the university s various LGBT-centered organizations and services. The school has also created over 75 gender inclusive bathrooms[5] on campus since last summer.

Undoubtedly, there are a lot of faults in society, many of which are amplified when on a university campus, and UO students continued to fight against these ills in a big way this year. Some students even pulled themselves out of the crowds to be a part of these campus-wide changes and ran for ASUO leadership positions during this past term. Elections on campus are always entertaining for me to witness just because of the drama that surrounds them, and this year was no different. The three campaign slates fighting for seats in the student-governing body were I m with UO, Duck Squad and One Oregon. I m with UO overwhelmingly won[6] positions in the school-wide elections with their executive ticket, Quinn Haaga, receiving 2,244 votes for the presidential seat during the runoff. With it being a national election year as well, political drama was not limited to ASUO. The game of the American throne brought both Trump and Sanders to Eugene this spring, and the two rallies couldn t have been more different[7]. Now, Eugene s liberalness is no secret, but I was surprised to see just how many fans of the Donald are among us. They came loud and proud in their monster trucks, trucker hats and other truck-things I m generalizing, of course and wanted their pride for Trump (the racist) to be known. But I guess there wasn t as much UO love for Trump as there was for Bernie, since the former did not tour the city or enjoy a Glenwood breakfast.

Politics can be polarizing, as can the spread of viruses[8] on campus *brb, washing hands,* as well as sports, especially when it s a fight between who does vs. who does not care that our men s b-ball team made it to the Elite Eight round[9] of March Madness, but I am both sad and happy to be leaving a place where there is cohesiveness in many aspects. So many students have been working to fix the problems on our campus, and the last year has given me motivation to live an active life in terms of righteousness, which in turn, gives me an opening in place of closure.

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References

  1. ^ a list (www.dailyemerald.com)
  2. ^ acknowledged by administration (www.dailyemerald.com)
  3. ^ in a letter (president.uoregon.edu)
  4. ^ list by College Choice (www.collegechoice.net)
  5. ^ over 75 gender inclusive bathrooms (www.dailyemerald.com)
  6. ^ overwhelmingly won (www.dailyemerald.com)
  7. ^ couldn t have been more different (www.dailyemerald.com)
  8. ^ spread of viruses (www.dailyemerald.com)
  9. ^ made it to the Elite Eight round (www.dailyemerald.com)

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