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Students should take advantage of university programming while they can

Eric Roddy

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As I sat in the Ferguson Theater Saturday afternoon, several thoughts occurred to me. First, I was totally captured by the edgy but still politically correct, passionate rhetoric of Lilly Ledbetter. Second, I was happy that my pants still fit comfortably after lunch. Finally, I was a little taken aback at the amount of empty seats. I felt the seat behind me to make sure there wasn’t, in fact, a group of invisible people that had come to see the speaker. There weren’t.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s always nice to have a few empty seats in a setting like that so everyone can spread out, but that really only applies to a matinee movie, not to the opportunity to see someone who has met presidents, owned the news circuit and stood in front of the Supreme Court. And what excuse could everyone who hadn’t come provide? As far as I know, there wasn’t anything else of the same magnitude on campus. Maybe North Dakota State facing off against Montana in the first college football game of the season?

Honestly, I think we’re a little spoiled as students. We have it pretty good – maybe a little too good. Along with the great speakers the University brings to us, we also have student-led discussions and meet and greets with the University’s top faculty members. Yet the attendance is far from ideal. It’s a recurring struggle for our student body to even stay to watch the country’s best football team led by the country’s best football coach for four quarters. It’s ironic, really. We have movements for improved student life and event functions, and too often we fail to take advantage of them.

We are spoiled. We’re lucky to be so, but we should work harder to seize the moment. During my time at the University, I can say that I’ve been privileged to see the likes of Rick Bragg, Patterson Hood and Joe Scarborough – all of which have been here in a very personal capacity thanks to the University of Alabama. Still, I’m somewhat guilty of this spoiled attitude as well. At least once a month, there’s a fantastic event happening on campus – the kind of event where someone will one day be able to reflect back and make a connection.

To the freshmen on campus, I can only recommend that you give your laptop a rest next time the University is offering another great program. Netflix will be there when you get back – for my sake too, I hope. But be more than just a viewer; be an experiencer. Take the initiative to leave the dorm room and take in a healthy dose of current events, especially while the University is the one footing the bill. 

Eric Roddy is a senior majoring in philosophy. His column runs biweekly.

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Students should take advantage of university programming while they can