If you’re a freshman at UCSD, you never saw Graffiti Hall as a student. In three years, no one on campus will know of it, and, except for occasional alumni stories, it will be as if it never existed at all. Although Graffiti Hall held a lot of cultural value for certain campus groups, there are even more important histories that will be or have been forgotten due to the fact that colleges often lack institutional memory. Campus awareness of certain events peaks after the initial incident but quickly fades into a distant afterthought. Students stop advocating for platforms of self-expression and opportunities for funding when it seems as if such privileges were never granted.
For years, students have lamented UC budget cuts, but there is little acknowledgment of the fact that these alleged funding decreases have been going on for decades without any substantial improvements. Every time referendums involving student fees are proposed, this expense is framed as a one-time deal. Students are easily placated by the notion that they’re the only ones responsible for covering such an expense instead of demanding more state funding. The student protests led against the UC Board of Regents in 2010 over an 8-percent tuition hike eerily reflect the recent tuition hike. If students had more access to this knowledge, they would likely be less complacent when their preferences and needs were ignored this year.
In another example, students have continued to deal with transportation referendums since the quarterly increase of approximately $50 in student fees for 2014–15 with a 1.5 percent-annual increase passed smoothly without public outcry. Every day, students sit at the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System bus stops throughout La Jolla, with lines spreading from the bench to intersections down the street. Undergraduates often have to wait 20 to 30 minutes just to catch a ride to class. Little does the general population ever recall that, as recently as 2012, the Nobel/Arriba shuttle actually existed as two separate buses. Instead, students continue to pay more money for fewer buses.
As a result of our lack of memory, students are satisfied by buses that are overcrowded, overheated and often smell like paint chemicals or bodily fumes. The nicest bus drivers try to cram as many people into each bus as possible because that is the standard of kindness students have come to appreciate. The case seems to be that we, as students, accept the amount of buses we believe that we deserve and the riding conditions which come with that.
There are other problems and shortcomings that the university effectively normalizes to pacify student interest, such as converting double rooms into triples all over campus, changing Sun God Festival from an all-campus event to a crammed festival on RIMAC Field and continual efforts from the UC Regents to muffle student protests. Instead, student organizations should prioritize the ability of alumni to pass down valuable information about past events so that history does not always end up repeating itself. Unless student bodies on this campus make an effort to develop a solid collective memory, the power in this academic institution will remain out of our hands.