Maybe it’s just my inner philosophy major, but I would define a campus community as a body of like-minded students that come together to work toward a shared goal. Whether that goal is social life, journalism or student activism, campus communities are social webs of students engaged in life outside the classroom.
At UCSD, the Greek community is a well-connected group of highly social students that do not harbor negative feelings toward other campus communities. Students go Greek because they’re all about being involved outside the classroom. When other communities prove that they also care about something other than upcoming midterms, Greeks are stoked. But Greek life is just one type of college experience at UCSD. While someone involved in the co-ops may have a fairly different college experience than a die-hard Greek, it’s important that UCSD is able to offer a diverse range of experiences. For example, if the university were to wrongfully set rent for the co-ops too high, the communities of students situated in the old Student Center would gradually fade away. Fewer campus communities mean incoming students are offered fewer diverse college experiences to choose from.
While having many communities is important, I think it’s unfair when certain communities recieve preferential treatment over others. For every $1 of student fees that goes toward communities dedicated to supporting Triton athletics, about $15 goes to the Student Sustainability Collective, a small community focused on environmental activism. While our Greek leaders pay to be members of their chapters, the student staffers of the SSC are paid for their work by the student body. Don’t get me wrong — saving the environment is important. But this breed of activism is just one of many types of college experiences available to incoming students. One could argue that students who care about the SSC are also going to care reguardless of whether they get paid for their work. Giving a campus community more money than members know what to do with unfairly prioritizes this type of college experience over the rest. The fact that around 10 percent of the student body is still engaged in Greek life — they have donated over $20,000 to charity so far this year alone — despite lacking major financial support from student government is testament to the competence and dedication of Greek leadership on our campus.
Whether you get hookups from student government, improving a community takes hard work. Few sincerely enjoy boothing and coordinating logistics. But if you’re down with what your community is all about, inside-out improvement is the right way to offer more students your type of college experience.