Ask yourself: Have you ever complained about UC Irvine? Campus parking? The bike ban on Ring Mall? The lack of school spirit? Have you ever bought a textbook and thought, “I sure hope part of this money is going to feed starving children in Kazakhstan”? Now ask yourself: Have you ever stopped complaining and started acting on the topics that vex you most?
If you answered “yes” to the first five questions and “no” to the final one, then you are one of over 20,000 reasons why UCI’s campus output of caring would be in the negative if not for organizations like CALPIRG picking up the slack.
Apathy is why some problems that plague UCI are never taken care of. When something on campus makes students angry, most just brush it off and hope that someone else will take care of it. When was the last time this worked? Even babies throw tantrums before their parents meet their needs. You care, and after reading this, you should do something about it.
Mahatma Gandhi practiced non-violent protest, and you, too, can practice positive protest. Do something to better the UCI experience for your fellow classmates to the chagrin of the administration and the Irvine Company.
Start small: Become infuriated with the small things that bother you, then go Incredible-Hulk ballistic. Think Aldrich Park needs more trees? Go plant some greenery in the middle of the night. Better yet, gather a group and plant a forest like it was your last Arbor Day on Earth.
Make it a monthly ritual and don’t get discouraged when your hard work is uprooted by traditionalists who want to limit UCI’s green potential. There will always be people who tell you that caring is not cool, just like there will always be Crazy Insane Anteaters at basketball games who shout self-effacing comebacks at the opposing team that make you feel ashamed to be an Anteater.
After the small stuff, go on to bigger and more significant issues that affect you directly. Campus parking issues? No bikes or skateboards on Ring Mall? No school spirit? High textbook costs? The possibilities are endless. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask for change, and other times, you have to take things into your own hands.
The point is, you are not bound to anything you don’t like at UCI. If you don’t like it, you can make it better. There is strength in numbers: the more people you convince to join a cause, the better. This doesn’t include making a Facebook group called “I hate [insert injustice here].” This does, however, include starting the first-ever on-campus initiative that just about any student can support.
So put away the sweatshirt from the dream college you couldn’t make it into and stop moping about your failures. If you work hard enough, UCI can be that dream university and the envy of other schools. And if all else fails, pop in your favorite Rage Against the Machine CD and wreck some (positive) mayhem on everything around you.
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