Against apathy

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Complacency isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

From a young age, we’re told to look at things with a glass half full mentality. Our culture is one that conditions us to look on the bright side of life, because we ought to be grateful for the things we have.

Being negative is looked down upon because, in some sense, it shows that we don’t appreciate what’s given to us. It is stigmatized.

At Queen’s, that attitude couldn’t be any more prevalent. At a university that prides itself on its school spirit, we often overlook what’s wrong.

As we sing and sway to the Oil Thigh, we don’t think about the things that need to be changed.

We’re caught up living the experience Queen’s is renowned for — one that’s rooted in tradition and a strong academic reputation and student life.

There is a fundamental difference, however, between negativity and being critical. Oftentimes, people confuse the two — criticism is taken personally and often discarded without second thought. Criticism, which can be constructive, is often seen as negative.

As a result, we miss the opportunity to grow. We become, in effect, a complacent student body absorbed with ideals of how Queen’s is, rather than how it ought to be.

Last year, roughly 41 per cent of Queen’s students voted in the AMS elections. The year before, voter turnout was a dismal 34 per cent.

Despite the increase in votes cast last year, I believe we can do better.

This week, the Journal released six features highlighting some issues this university faces, ranging from a displaced hockey team to the deceptive appearance of our campus buildings. The issues that we have highlighted, and continue to highlight in the Journal, represent real obstacles the University faces in reaching its full potential.

As campaigning for this year’s elections races begin, we ought to reflect how we would like our university to be, rather than accepting it merely for what it is. We have the opportunity to engage with our community in a way that will shape how we see it in the future.

We need to take advantage of that.

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