What changed?

by Breanna Adamick

Greensboro, North Carolina, can be a very lively place – more often than not, there is something happening. Even if it is one of the more usual events, such as trivia nights, concerts or another little activity in one of the many breweries or restaurants, there are still fun events to take part in for a night out to relax and enjoy the community.

The same goes for the Greensboro College campus. We have numerous different clubs on campus, and there are frequently various events and activities occurring because of this. Sometimes, the trick is keeping tabs on what all is happening and upcoming so you remember to attend. Even when advertising and communication about an event is not an issue, however, quite a few of these events find themselves poorly attended. Being at a very small school, one might expect that; but in just the past couple of years while I have been here, it certainly feels like student engagement has been trending downward fairly rapidly.

One could attribute this decline to any number of possible things – bad timing of the event, lack of interest within the student body or even something more notable such as the aftereffects of a pandemic. No matter what potential aspect is focused on, they all seem to support the same idea: that students are not engaged like perhaps they used to be.

Greensboro College is not the only school going through this, however. It is far from unreasonable to suggest that the same could be said for other schools, in general, or in some way comparable to GC. While I cannot accurately state why other schools may be having low attendance of activities or minimal participation in organizations, it could be due, in part, to some of the aforementioned possibilities.

When considering the bad timing aspect, you cannot really blame anyone or anything. Sometimes an event may just be planned on a day and at a time where many people who might have been interested and attended the event simply could not go, due to conflicts with athletics, academics, work or another commitment. In those instances, poorer engagement could be chalked up to bad luck. As far as the interest aspect, some events naturally are more desirable to students than others. Take the difference between bingo night and a guest speaker or lecture as an example – the former is much more popular among the GC student body for various reasons.

Most frequently, as I see it, students have very little desire to attend anything even remotely academic outside of classes. That says nothing about the quality of the content in the event lectures, but more about the fact that the student body is less interested in educational happenings than activities purely for enjoyment.

Putting aside the more technical possibilities of why interaction and engagement are suffering, I can get to a bigger potential reason for the undesirable change in our college environment. COVID-19 stunted a lot of things – not just the first year it was wreaking havoc in 2020, but the few years to follow leading up to now as well.

The 2020 spring semester concluded in an online format, and even though some in-person classes returned come fall of 2020, engagement and social interaction took a big hit. Still, from what I recall from my freshman year here, fall 2020 to spring 2021, students did appear more eager to attend events, activities and a few of the campus clubs that were still able to meet. I partially attribute this to the slight desire to rebel that most of us felt after so much isolation and worry, as well as the longing for some attempt at “normalcy.”

As time went on in the pandemic, and we all became more adapted to a more virtual life with increased solitude and at-home time, I believe the mindset and interest of some people really did start to change when it came to social outings and activities. Perhaps it started to feel like a lot of effort to actually leave one’s house or room, try to be presentable in appearance in front of others and truly engage in society again. One cannot say for sure, obviously, only that
it seems like a distinct possibility.

Whether this is the case or not, or some other reason unique to every individual is in play, the college experience is far too short to spend it holed up in your dorm room when you could
be experiencing fun events on campus or getting involved with a meaningful club. Not only will engaging in activities on campus likely enhance your own GC experience, but it will likely enhance other people’s as well. As such a small college and community, every person counts – every person can be seen, heard and felt, and that makes it even more important to interact and participate within the community.

Along the lines of being a small college and close-knit community, it should be further emphasized how well a single voice can be heard. Maybe sometimes it does not always feel like that is the case, but it truly is. With that, The Collegian is here to help have your voice heard even better or to advocate for something you believe in or want to see at Greensboro College. That can include events and clubs, as well as any- thing else one may want to highlight.

Once upon a time, we used to have “letters to the editor” for The Collegian. Those served as a way for students to voice opinions, ideas for articles they thought should be written, as well as inquire about other Collegian-related topics. While those letters are not as active as they perhaps once were, they can still be an option for students who would like something to be spoken about and have their voice either directly or indirectly heard.

Emails can either go to me through my Greensboro College email address: breanna.adamick@greensboro.edu or to The Collegian’s email: thegccollegian@gmail.com. That simply, you can get your message out and be involved. Remember how easy it truly is at this college to get involved in fun, interesting and fulfilling events and organizations, and to be seen and heard by many. Enjoy what GC can offer you and never take a moment here for granted.

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