We owe it to the University
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, March 29, 2007
It is sadly ironic that Patrick McMaster’s insights (“Nothing wrong with our ‘Reputation,'” March 28) appeared on the same day as a piece examining student apathy. I hope McMaster’s jocular tone shows he meant to exaggerate. However, if his letter is even partly based on genuine viewpoints – his own, or of anyone in our community – we have other serious problems on our campus. To be clear, this isn’t a tirade against college drinking.
We’re all supposed to be adults here: we can make our own decisions. But if our entire social lives revolve around the Bud Lights in our hands, I think we’re negatively impacting Notre Dame beyond Friday night. We’re disrespecting our futures and those who work to offer us futures. McMaster discusses students’ lack of real responsibility, and he’s right. I’m not supporting a family or running a country; I can afford to have fun. Time with friends is an essential part of our college experience. However, I hope we’re not paying more than $40,000 a year just to get wasted every weekend and attend a few classes in between.
Think of everything else we have to engage us. Academic inquiry and research beyond our normal classes. Creative and performing arts. Service and social action groups working on issues in our local and global communities. These, and much more, teach us to stretch our minds beyond textbook information and to develop an informed worldview – essential qualities for our leadership. Having a couple drinks on occasion probably doesn’t prevent us from engaging in what our university has to offer. But we could question whether excessive drinking now keeps us from opportunities we can’t buy at a bar. That would be disrespecting our future. Tied in with personal lack of respect is lack of respect for our educators. I’ll use the term educator broadly: from professors and administrators to all the service people who run our school.
Don’t we understand that everyone here is working for our benefit? I’ve talked to numerous custodians who enjoy their jobs here because they love to see students inspired. Again, we don’t need to forsake all “normal” college social life to respect our educators. However, maybe we should think carefully about how we show gratefulness to people who give us so much. Don’t we owe it to ourselves, and our community, to take advantage of the whole Notre Dame experience? To not waste it away?