Tag Archives: activities

Does Anybody Care Anymore?


Lately I have been struggling with the questions “how do we get people to care?” and “how do we get people involved?” I go to university, which is a place where people tend to be highly motivated and interested in getting involved. We are in a highly competitive environment and we’re all trying to give ourselves that boost we need to get us our desired career. As such, we do a lot outside of classes. But this year…well, it seems as though motivation is lacking.
I think a lot of the lack of motivation is due to the problems people have noticed on campus. Our president is the highest paid in Canada. She makes a ridiculous amount of money. In fact, it seems as though it all goes to her. Since I began attending the university, they’ve added another 1500 students yearly, which is a lot, but they haven’t really done anything to improve the buildings and increase the amount of space we have for studying. Just trying to move around the school is a nightmare because of the number of people in the hallways. The university has even made it more difficult for clubs to get out into the campus community and be seen. We used to be able to book classrooms and equipment for free, but now we have to pay for equipment and we can only book a few rooms a year. This makes throwing events difficult. As such, I think people are genuinely disappointed with the state of the university and unaware of the clubs’ existences.

But it seems that there is more to it than that. Normally first years come to university and immediately try to get involved. Some look for the more social groups to make friends, and others look for groups that help them get ahead in their field. Many get too involved and end up dropping a few things. But the first years haven’t done that this year. In fact, from what I’ve heard from others, they haven’t even been getting that involved with their classes. And it seems as the students who are graduating have become highly apathetic too. Usually those graduating want to go out with a bang, so they put a lot of effort into their activities in the last year. This is partially because it’s the last year before heading out into the real world and partially to add some extra padding to their resume. But not this year. It seems like those of us who are graduating after spending years getting involved are just exhausted. Nobody cares any more. It’s all very strange.
But this creates a dilemma: how do we keep everything from dying? A number of clubs have already shut down. The Interfaith may be shut down in March if I can’t find people to take over. Even the Freethinkers is struggling, and it’s a well established club. I keep trying to find ways to bring people in and get them to care, but all of my efforts have been in vain. So how do I get people to get involved? How do I get them to care? And how do I save the clubs that I put so much of my time and energy into?


University is About More Than Attending Classes

We live in an age where a large number of people are attending colleges and universities, but a lot of people in the workforce don’t have a post-secondary degree. As such, there are a lot of misconceptions about university (and college) floating around. For example, when I was in highschool I was told you need to be an A student or a high B student to be accepted into university. This isn’t true. Some degrees require higher grades than others, but C students are perfectly able to get into university.

But the biggest misconception that I have noticed is the perception that all university students do is go to class. This seems especially true from the baby boomers. But this is actually a very small part of university. It is necessary to have a degree for a lot of jobs, this includes a number of management positions in retail. As such, to get a good job, we need a university (or college) degree. But there is so much competition that having a degree does not guarantee us a job. We need experience to get a job, but, without a job, it’s tough to get experience. Very few places are willing to pay us to get that experience, so we can’t afford to get it when we are done school. As such, university is as much about gaining experience as it is about going to class.

When I first started university, I was constantly told to get involved. By this they meant volunteer on campus, join clubs, and get to know people. In my experience, everybody who is serious about their studies does this, and it’s best to get involved during the first year. In my time at university, I’ve had 2 years worth of leadership training, I’ve volunteered from the second year on in various ways, I’ve joined clubs and have leadership positions in 2 of them, I’ve gone to various events put on by others, and I’ve organized events of my own. I know a lot of people at my school, and a number of my professors know me by name. As such, I won’t just graduate with a degree, I’ll graduate with experience and with connections.

University isn’t about attending classes, in fact, good grades aren’t the most important thing about university. University is about what you do when you aren’t in class. It’s about the people you meet and the connections you make. It’s about the experience you gain. And it’s about the memories you make.


And It Begins…

Today is the first day of my winter semester. This semester is looking to be a busy one, which I had been expecting, but I’m still feeling unprepared. Today is the first Freethinkers meeting of the semester. Luckily our meetings are basically friendly hang-outs. Tomorrow begins what is called the Club’s Showcase. Both the Freethinkers Club and the Interfaith Club will be in the Showcase, so I will be getting to school very early and leaving very late for the remainder of the week. At the Club’s Showcase we have a table set up to display our club to the school. We have members manning the table to hand out pamphlets and answer questions. I’ll be running back and forth between two tables.

The Interfaith Club and my (separate) Interfaith team won’t begin meeting until the second week of school. Next week I’ll have Freethinkers on Monday, Interfaith Book Club on Tuesday, Interfaith meeting on Wednesday, and Tea Time on Friday. That will be what every second week looks like. Luckily the Interfaith meetings are only bi-weekly. Everything else is weekly. I also have monthly movie nights to plan and attend.

My Social Justice Conference (SoJo Cal) is on February 14, so I still have to finish organizing that. In March I have two more events: a debate on whether the Christian God is moral and a talk on pseudo-science. I’m also supposed to be working on a workshop about interfaith cooperation and working with people who have different religious backgrounds from your own. Hopefully that will be it…

And that is on top of my class work, which will be fairly busy itself (I have 5 classes including Ancient Greek). With any luck, I will survive.

May Activities

May is always a busy month for me. Half of my family was born in May, myself included. It means that I am, at the very least, sending out a ton of e-mails and facebook messages. I’m also usually figuring my summer out, since school has just finished for a few months. But this May is especially busy. On the 7th, Chris Stedman came to give a talk at my University. It was a great talk. If anybody is interested in finding out about the discussion, look at the tweets by uofcfreethinker. The event was live tweeted. Since I was part of the group responsible for bringing him here, I was able to go out to dinner with him before the talk. I was also able to go to the bar with him after the talk. It was a great, but busy, day. 

My next activity will be a wrap up meeting for the interfaith group, since we are not active through the spring and summer semesters. That will take place on the 15th. On the 16th I will be leaving the city to head up to Kamloops, BC for Imagine No Religion 4. I am very excited for that. Last summer I went to The Amazing Meeting in July and got to meet a lot of wonderful people who are very active in the skeptic movement. This year I was able to participate in bringing both Justin Schieber and Chris Stedman to my city. I am looking forward to the meeting many people at INR4. 

Once I get back from Kamloops, I will have to begin looking for a job. I will also begin planning for the next school year. I will have two clubs to run as well as the interfaith group. This year has been great: both the Freethinkers Club and the interfaith group experienced a level of success greater than that of previous years (or so I’ve been told). But I am hoping that the upcoming year will be even better.

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