You’ll Do Us Proud, UCI

It is only a matter of time before we must begin accustoming ourselves to writing “2013” all over again, but while we still have a few weeks left in 2012, let us take a look at the last 10 weeks. There is much to commend and recognize here at UC Irvine, and we hope that all Anteaters will use what they have done this past quarter to launch themselves into the next year.

Many of us participated in the national elections for the first time this year, and that is in no small part thanks to the efforts of students encouraging and pushing each other to vote. From the leaders in the student government to the freshmen lining up at their dining halls to register and vote, the presence of the youth vote this election season was quite incredible.

Proposition 30, for all the hype surrounding it, isn’t the solution to all our problems. It is merely a stopgap for the moment, but it sets the framework, no matter how basic it is, for re-establishing and restructuring the relationship between the state and public education.

In 2013, look forward to continued discussion toward improving this relationship. Despite the huge increase in private support and donations to the UC as state support has declined, it is not sustainable and is definitely not the groundwork upon which the UC was founded.

Speaking of discussion, the discourse (or lack thereof) surrounding the passing of the ASUCI Legislative Council resolution “Divestment From Companies That Profit From Apartheid” made it clear that we need to constantly be taking efforts to foster clear, fair and open dialogue and inclusion for all students in the campus community. As the UC Office of the President (UCOP) prepares to conduct the nation’s largest campus climate survey across the UCs, we must continually remind ourselves that we are an incredibly diverse community. To improve and maintain a welcoming, inclusive campus environment, students need to speak and listen, to the best of our abilities, with each other.

If the election season in 2012 told us anything, it is that there are individuals in our local and federal government who have a hard time listening to each other and respecting their peers, no matter what their opinion.

We as students don’t have any single agenda to push for a living, and we are fortunate to be studying and living in a community that, in its finest moments, allows for individuals to express themselves through whatever means, whether it be through brilliant research, activism and being involved with organizations. Let us continue championing these means and respecting our fellow Anteaters!

UC Irvine ranked first in the United States and fourth in the world among the best universities less than 50 years old, according to Times Higher Education. UCI is also the youngest university to gain membership in the Association of American Universities.

Our older brothers and sisters up at Berkeley and LA have their histories and accomplishments. We have an advantage in being young and being in the process of establishing and solidifying our legitimacy in the realm of higher education. Our hopes (and investments) rest in the individuals here, from students to faculty, staff to administrators, so let us make the most of what we’ve learned in 2012 and trek together into 2013.

 Please send all comments to opinion@newuniversity.org. Include your name, year and major.