Student Involvement

by Garrett Coble
opinions editor

To use the words of the lyric philosophers of Three 6 Mafia, “It’s hard out here for a pimp.”

Unfortunately, it’s also hard out here for a writer. While my contention won’t garner any Academy Awards or Oscars, it’s far more pertinent to the student body. Rather than being concerned about new Cadillacs and gas money, the lackluster student involvement with campus publications concerns me.  At the same time, I understand the dilemma of raising such concerns. At Millsaps, often the same issues receive the majority of the attention, only temporarily fading from the forefront of our minds when a new dead horse appears in need of a beating; a non-exhaustive sample would include items such as student fun and facility concerns.

Just like many of my peers, this issue particularly concerns and influences my day-to-day, causing me to advocate accordingly. As the editor of the opinions section, my work consists of presenting high quality pieces by adequately mixing serious pieces with humorous writing. Ideally, this section would act as a space for students to engage in intellectual discourse or possibly be exposed to atypical points of view. Naturally, these functions take a backseat to fake bacon whistleblowing, but what doesn’t?

However, the lack of student engagement diminishes the number of roles the publication can play on campus. While difficult to swallow at the organizational level, this is particularly troubling at the sectional level for the reasons named above; a serious divide exists between potential and execution. Instead of acting as a soundboard to project student concerns, opinions, and oddities, the section is merely myself and a few others continually projecting our opinions to seemingly deaf ears.

Yet any seasoned Millsapian recognizes the contradiction here. Formulating opinions and arguing (or whining, depending on the issue at hand) are the prime directives of the student body. As a campus of advocates, no shortage of opinions exists. However, as a student publication, we’re not bound to the same standard of gravity as a national or regional publication. This freedom allows us to tackle far less serious issues than those dealt with by student advocacy groups, such as Amnesty International. Unforeseen rodent uprisings in Bacot? Possible biases in the facilitation of intramurals? Sounds like great stories for the old Purple and White.

So what is the solution? You. You are the solution to this problem. In the past month, someone, something, or some policy has rubbed you the wrong way, and I want you to write about it. Think you possess critical knowledge to improving the paper’s process, appearance or style? Write us. Lend us your talents at a wordsmith, photographer, or other type of guru and contribute to the documentation of the Millsaps experience. Indeed, I ask you to give me your tired, your poor, your huddled opinions yearning to be heard, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, and send these, the homeless, tempest-tost word documents to me.

Three 6 Mafia and Emma Lazarus together? That’s the power of the opinions section.