Stewardship: Be The Change You Want to See in Your Own World

      When you are new, be it at work, at school, or anywhere, you find yourself in an awkward position. If you are too ambitious or bold, you run the risk of seeming aggressive or overconfident. If you hold back, people might walk all over you. Especially in the workplace, there seems to be a kind of order to things. You do what you’re told. You are less part of the group and more just following it around. So, why do I bring this up?

      When people criticize something Eastern University does, who is the object of that discontent? It’s an important question. Certainly we can’t bring our grievances to the stone walls and windows. No one is casting their complaint towards Walton Pond. So who do we blame when things aren’t right? Is it the president? The board? The faculty or staff? Do we students share in the burden?

      In high school (for those of you who had the pleasure of going through the public education system), we develop a sort of inherent righteous anger toward institutions. Dress codes, attendance, rules upon rules. In our microcosm we rage against the machine, and we can because we didn’t choose this. We were just told we had to go to school one day. Things are a little different when you go off to college. Even with societal and family pressure, it is still a choice we made.

      As a freshman, I took full advantage of what Eastern had to offer. I enjoyed SAB events and explored the many halls and facilities. I went to class and engaged in study. Yes, I was paying for it all, and yes, I chose to be here, but everything was being done for me. I wasn’t a part of it yet. When I talked about Eastern, both the institution and the community, I talked about it as if it was something separate from myself. I went to Eastern. My perspective was largely the same until I was well into my second year and applied to be a resident assistant.

      For better or for worse, as an RA I now represented my school. I became invested in this place, and when I heard people talk negatively about it, I felt like they were talking negatively about me. I walked these halls. I took these classes. I cleaned the dining commons floor. This was a home I chose, and I’m not the only one. Policies and ideas are nebulous and only matter in the context of the people who participate in them. We drive the culture of our school. There are students here who start and run clubs and organizations, students who are doing great work for the world while they study, and there are students here who carry us when we can’t make it on our own.

      As a senior and as an RA, I can’t complain all that much. This is my 4th year, and I’ve had a lot of time to affect the changes I wanted. And yes, all on my own I couldn’t possibly do all that much, but I’m just one student. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we can’t agree. What you think is best for this school might not be what someone else thinks is best. The point is that we are stewards of the environment we live in. We are Eastern. Its struggle is our struggle. Its quality is our own.

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