Editorial: Finding our center

On May 17, 2015, three Mr. Canisius winners walked across the stage in the Koessler Athletic Center. Three members of the Undergraduate Student Association Executive Board did the same. The Student Programming Board knocked over its chair. RHA President and former DiGamma Student Master left her post after two years of Grilled Cheese and Nacho/Smoothie Nights to finish her M.B.A. here. The tap-dancing, outspoken (to understate) President of C-Block. The Recycle Champion’s voice will haunt those who knew her. Jesus (well, Little Theatre’s Jesus) left the stage. Three Griffin editors flew the nest. So who’s left?
This paper isn’t telling the Class of 2016 to scour the tunnels for a new E-Board position, nor does it insist that a new wall of big names needs to be chipped into Churchill Tower. A new dynamic needs to be forged, though it’s unlikely we’ll be allowed a forge and a rifle range. This campus has a fresh feel to it, perhaps related to the new impending marketing campaign, and for those who fled our ranks in the spring of 2015 and have returned for this fall, there’s a new vibe.

This campus is great at traditions. This paper is one, for certain. Beating Niagara. Mr. Canisius. The bonfire. Beating Niagara. We’re also great at reinventing these traditions. Griff Fest (Spring Fest/Quad Party). Sexual assault awareness. How we beat Niagara. Students are such a large part of these things, and in the past year, members of the Class of 2015 played a huge role, either overseeing such projects themselves or working in conjunction with an underclassman on them. These practices will go on with faculty members providing the institutional memory that we need, but they will continue onwards, mostly because mutiny would arise otherwise. (And it nearly did over SPB’s April Fool’s Joke.)

So where do we go from here? Up, logically. On downwards into the depths of the tunnels. This paper wants to see these traditions continue, but it also wants to see innovation. A bar came to campus last year, and it isn’t perfect. There’s some work to be done there. There are events to be grown, and there are new and returning students to help with this process. However, it doesn’t need to be a group of 10 seniors forming an Illuminati to do so; rather, a task is to be charged to all student leaders: engage the campus. Chip a new age. There’s talk of a Griffin statue bedding down in Student Life and USA; perhaps it could instead be built by a community. After all, it takes a village (townhouse).

It’s a big burden to pick up, certainly. Three of these now-alumni brought a bar to Iggy’s, after all. At the same time, however, there’s something to be done to pick up after their legacy and leave our mark at Canisius without pretending to be more than we are.

At the same time, the dent left by the Class of 2015 wasn’t entirely one dealt painlessly. This paper acknowledges their faults; it’s certainly been the victim of some them. The class wasn’t perfect, but what reign is? President Hurley even admitted his vision last year was too widely aimed, and such was the breadth sought to be left by this year’s predecessors. They made mistakes, and so too will this new class of almost-grads.

With enrollment at 2,500 students, Canisius is clearly a small institution, a size coming with a variety of benefits, not the least of which is its conduciveness to student leadership and getting involved. Dr. Terri Mangione, Vice President of Student Affairs for the College, attended the last Senate meeting, and she listened to a variety of concerns brought forth by the representatives, including gender-neutral spaces and more vegan/vegetarian options. Like many other institutions, Canisius is moving to a new place in the age of millennials, and it is seeking to explore the values posed by its current and future classes.

President Hurley, as noted in last week’s edition, highlighted the College’s focus on being a student-centered institution, and so without students to help lead each other into this new phase, there is no center to be found.

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