Embracing community, embracing difference

Illustration by Maria Estrada

By John Rogers /// Staff Writer

Sitting on South Campus on Monday night, watching the eclipse, I experienced a feeling that I have rarely felt during my time at Lewis & Clark. As students laughed and talked, using the  astronomical anomaly as an excuse to escape a dull Monday evening, I felt a connection and sense of community with my fellow Lewis & Clarkians. It is the events like these that remind me why I chose Lewis & Clark in the first place. Thinking about this absence of community that I often felt, I pondered the reasons why it wouldn’t be felt here at LC more often.

It would seem that our school is having a bit of an identity crisis. There is a constant analysis of the divisions that lie within the student body. What does it mean to be a Lewis & Clarkian? It is not an easily answered question. It just might be that the problem is actually the solution. We are undefined. There is no single ideal, interest or activity that we all rally around. LC consists of students from around the world, interested in an incredible variety of things. That is the way we should look at our diversity. Instead, we dwell on divisions within the Bon or attendance at school events. It is the diversity of students and activities that has made my past few years enjoyable and interesting. With such a small student body, homogenity would feel constricting.

LC doesn’t have some of the things that one would expect from a classic college experience. Now I’m not saying that is what we want. However, I do feel that there is more discussion about what we don’t have than what do have. We will likely never be a community that rallies around one single thing. Perhaps it’s better that way. There is no group or organization on campus that takes a higher position than another. There is a place here for everyone here.  If a stronger community connection is what we seek then we must play to our strengths and look at the many things that LC does offer. We must embrace our differences and let them bring us together.

I know this may sound like a PR article for the college but it’s not. I am simply writing about something that I feel I have personally lost sight of. Four years of clubs, activities, sports and classes at this school allows us to become well rounded individuals. The diversity at this school embodies the liberal arts mission for it forces all of us to experience the multitude of beliefs, ideas and interests held by its students and administrators. Our differences should bring us together for they are the only things that really define us. It is my hope that in coming years, as our school evolves, we can foster a greater sense of community among the student body. Although lunar eclipses are a great way to bring people together, their infrequency means that we might need something else to unite us.

 

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