The Collegian
Thursday, March 30, 2023

Class of 2009: Do it now or never at all

Westhampton College '09

Attention all seniors at the University of Richmond and underclassmen/women who value the free dispersal of this senior's accumulated wisdom: I am issuing you a challenge.

Whether it has struck you already or whether you are still in denial, our senior and final year at UR is upon us.

While for some of us this is a sad truth to acknowledge, I write this opinion article without tears or melancholy. It is safe to say that the past three years of my life have been life-changing. From day one on this campus, my personal and academic beliefs have been challenged. Whether through a debate among friends at D-hall, speaking with international students with coffee in the library, or in a classroom with a professor whose lectures made my head buzz, I have been challenged. It's only fair that now, at the beginning of my senior year and with all of the privileges afforded me, it is my time to set a challenge for my fellow students.

Without any more hesitation, let me lay out my dare.

Speak out! Respect the people that you share this campus with. If you see acts of injustice on this campus, do something about it. Many of us have participated in or heard of something that didn't seem right at the time or after the fact. Throughout my three years at UR, I have seen acts of rudeness, discrimination and malice towards students. I don't say this to complain, tattletale or call for vengeance. Rather, I bring this up because of its significance for every person who sleeps, works or sets foot on this campus.

Now is the time for us students to take responsibility in action toward ending the hostilities that surface at times on our campus. This includes, but is not limited to, sexism, racism, classism and heterosexism.

Directly or indirectly, we have ALL contributed to these issues. Through both our calls for change and through our silence, each one of us has a role in the problems and in the solution. For example, if you hear of a party that is degrading to women or any other group on campus, don't attend it. If you hear someone make a degrading joke, say something to stop it instead of just laughing along. As seniors especially, we can act without the threat of peer judgment. Who cares if we're labeled un-cool now? We're seniors!

We have survived and accomplished more than we ever thought possible three years ago. We've seen these things happen on campus and we've seen their negative effects. We can use this, coupled with our collective knowledge of UR and its inner-workings, to do something and make a difference. We are a force to be reckoned with. As a fellow spider told us in the movie Spider-Man, "with great power comes great responsibility." The same is true for us as seniors, and especially for all of us as 'spiders' at the University of Richmond

Take time to reflect upon the last three years of your life, as I have and will continue to do this year. We must not succumb to throwing up our hands and blaming our apathy on senioritis. Instead, I challenge you to use your position as a senior at UR to make a positive impact on this community. Whether consciously or not, each of us leaves a legacy at the University of Richmond once we leave in May 2009. I write this not to scare you, but rather to motivate us as a class

With this sense of urgency, I challenge each of you now to make a conscious decision about your legacy at UR. What actions will you take toward leaving a positive legacy at the UR in your last two semesters? How will you ensure that the UR experience for the class of 2012 will be a better one than it was for the incoming class of 2009? Whatever action you choose to take, do it with purpose. Above all else, do it now or never at all, class of 2009.

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