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The final 10

Jonathan Klingler | Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The end of senior year is a time to have fun with friends, get senioritis and reflect on the past four years of college. Whether we like it or not, this is the time to wrap things up and start thinking about the next leg of the journey. When I started with The Observer at the beginning of the year, I began keeping a list of topics to write about. As part of the general theme of wrapping things up, I’ll share with you (in no particular order) the remaining topics that never quite made it to full column status. Enjoy!

10. The restrictions imposed by the CCC and the Student Activities Office (SAO) are simply too much to handle. I’ve been involved in one club or another since freshman year, and simple tasks like changing officers or reporting expenses become sinkholes of wasted time. Things have improved with SAO Online, and the people at the SAO are great, but the bureaucratic hurdles are still awful, particularly with the CCC.

9. Student groups should focus their energies on action and not just some vague form of “awareness.” Does a display of shoes, crosses or pinwheels on South Quad lead to action which will deter terrorist slaughter in Iraq, alter the composition of the Supreme Court or provide further investment for alternative energy? I think not, but action can be combined with a demonstration, like Shack City for example.

8. In general, people at Notre Dame are genuinely and sincerely committed to doing the right thing. I’ve met many people elsewhere who engage in protests and activities without really understanding what they’re doing, but that is rare here. Despite accusations that Notre Dame students are apathetic, most of the people I know here are idealistic, informed and active people who are committed to making the world a better place.

7. The Registrar and the Office of International Studies have no control over room assignments in the dorms. If you are mad that you don’t have a place on campus when you come back from being abroad, don’t go complaining to them, talk to your hall staff. Also, it’s just sad that hall staff can effectively force allergic students out of their dorms for the sake of their pets.

6. There are problems that only force can solve. Campus crime alerts ensure that we are constantly reminded of the dangers which pervade our fallen world. I can’t imagine that anyone would seriously disagree that a well-armed domestic police force is necessary to establish justice and prevent evildoers from destroying society, despite occasional, prosecuted, abuses. Members of our armed forces are doing the same in Afghanistan and Iraq to eliminate disorder there and prevent terrorists from attacking us at home. Lives lost in pursuit of justice are never wasted, whether they are in South Bend or Kandahar.

5. Don’t pull a stop and chat on the sidewalk. I once saw two people sitting on the ground and reading in front of the busy doors of DeBartolo during class time. I’m serious. It’s really annoying to have to walk around clumps of people having full conversations in the middle of the walkway when you’re almost late for class. Kindly move to the side, and enjoy yourselves without being a roadblock.

4. There is no unanimous consensus on climate change. Over the past year, there has been a concerted effort to shut down scientists who object to the theory that global warming is caused by human activity. There’s a significant body of peer-reviewed research in support of natural climate change. If global warming is the greatest threat humanity faces, we really should have a free and open public debate regarding its causes rather than the McCarthyite labeling of those who disagree with Al Gore as “global warming deniers.” Truth can be inconvenient for everyone.

3. I’ve never been turned down by, in a relationship with, or dumped by a Saint Mary’s student. I’m saying this simply to set the record straight for a number of angry readers who had convinced themselves otherwise. Unfortunately, many people read a lot more into my Feb. 13 column (“Saint Mary’s – we need to talk”) than what I wrote, and I’m sorry for underestimating the long history and intense emotions of the issue. No hard feelings.

2. The drinking age should be lowered to 18, but you should still be 21 to buy alcohol. Many people already begin drinking in high school, and many of our parents were able to drink legally before we were. If people are really concerned about binge drinking, they should make sure that we all can start drinking in high school when we at least have parents around rather than have people go crazy freshman year.

1. Use your leftover Flex Points to buy supplies for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. This week, the College Republicans will be collecting food at the Huddle, and those who donate will receive raffle tickets for a few prizes and other goodies. Rather than waste your Flex Points on junk or let them expire, use them to help out those in need!

Jonathan Klingler is a senior management consulting major and president emeritus of the Notre Dame College Republicans. He currently resides in Keenan Hall and enjoys Tolstoy and Matlock. He can be contacted via e-mail at jklingle@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.