Freshmen need greater inclusion

By Letter to the Editor, by Cayln Jones

 First I would like to say, there are many wonderfully rare and beautiful aspects of Columbia College Chicago that should never be taken for granted. In this letter though, I would like to address a serious issue I believe Columbia is dealing with. As a student, many of my colleagues would agree that the overarching community at the school is, well, nonexistent.

I arrived in Chicago September 2015, full of hope and excitement. I was aware [Columbia] wouldn’t [provide] the average college campus. I was aware that it was at least a little harder to find people you connected with. I was aware Columbia was truly different than other colleges in the way they approached “student life.” Up until now, I didn’t really realize why other colleges may have other methods.

Thankfully, I was blessed with wonderful roommates I was able to quickly befriend. Other than that, I honestly have about two friends I have made here. All of this considered, I am a generally outgoing person who enjoys socializing with others, so why have I had this problem?

There are hardly any student functions that actually sound fun and inviting. There is a serious lack of “safe space” where students can know that everyone they are talking to are 1., a student, and 2., willing to talk and connect. I think many would agree that you can tell that the events are forced. But then comes the largest reason. Even if the school organized an amazing student function beyond Orientation Week, we have not been encouraged to put ourselves out there and meet people, connect with people [and] have fun.

There’s this underlying message here that is standoffish to others. Find your “creative crew”? This subtly implies exclusivity and a push to be constantly proving your creativity, your uniqueness. I know I was personally intimidated by this mindset.

I realize this is a difficult problem to solve, and I currently don’t have [a] flip of the switch solution. In the end though, I believe the student body of Columbia College Chicago is in need of [a] unifier-—a common goal. We need motivation to be kind, social and appreciative of our colleagues. We need the pressure of being cool to be neutralized in the name of something beyond that—purpose.

While there’s a school, there’s not much spirit. Let’s try and chase after that in the years to come.

Cayln Jones,

freshman journalism major