Feb 182009
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

CSU used to be the site of a tradition of students who made a difference, stood up for what they believed and took on the good fight. There was a time when it was guaranteed that an issue of importance had CSU students making headlines.

But not any longer. And we’re not alone.

Nearly every university, compared to its counterparts from days of old, is a bunch of apathetic do-littles. Maybe this is a reason so many people around the world have less than stellar attitudes about our country.

Maybe more of us need to visit places where people are still fighting for their rights to go to school and have some “upward mobility” — where economic downturn means the rest of the country can begin to experience what its like to play on a level playing field.

We don’t even have to go overseas to get a hit of that reality.

Still, overseas our forgotten poor are said to have it better than many people in developing countries — people who don’t have access to homeless shelters, clean running water, enough food to eat or a government that represents them. All things considered, we didn’t have a government representing us until a few weeks ago.

But I guess that’s what I’m getting at isn’t it? It’s all about which “us” or, better yet, which U.S. we’re talking about these days.

The “us” I want to talk about is the us at CSU that marched hundreds strong in 1968 from campus to downtown Fort Collins to take a stand against the Vietnam War. The us who made up CSU in 1969 when the Student Government, the Black Student Association and the International Student group stood up against racist policies at BYU and the University of Wyoming, demanding discontinuation of athletic relations.

Traditions of compassion and moral fortitude at CSU continued later in ’69 when a group of students and citizens locked themselves in the Ag Building in protest of university negotiations with a military contracted chemical company. And in 1970, a war moratorium concert protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia ended, unfortunately, with protesters burning down our Old Main.

I’m not attempting to instigate a riot or endorse civil disobedience, but what the hell is the student body waiting for?

Our last university president left us with a big question mark, the actions of our campus police chief are being investigated — and how apathetic are we?

President Barack Obama came to our state to sign the hugest financial package in the history of the world, and, if I’m not mistaken, ours was the last university campus he made a stand at before he won the election.

The rest of the world is out there begging us to do more than cast our votes. The generations before us didn’t need a self-serving cause on campus to make a statement — there are causes aplenty during our time.

So, I’m challenging the CSU student body to come together with one voice this semester to stand up for some just and meaningful cause. And I don’t mean running around like a bunch of boneheaded Buffaloes burning trash cans on Pearl St. because mommy and daddy cut the flow to your trust fund.

We are being judged by a world more critical and less tolerant of “good intentions.”

As college students with all privileges granted to us by being U.S. citizens, it’s on our consciences to find worthy causes to lend our collective voices to.

We will be judged as much by what we do as what we don’t do; our silence will not go unnoticed.

We are 25,000 strong here in Fort Collins we are living in the time of our own history. The eyes of the state, country even the world have been right here at CSU and can be again if we’re brave enough to have our voices heard.

Phoenix Mourning-Star is an environmental health graduate student. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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