Students take issue into own hands

In the past few days, I have come across more student-initiated action on Chapman University’s campus than ever before.

In the past few days, I have come across more student-initiated action on Chapman University’s campus than ever before.For years, students (including myself) have complained about the annual monopoly at the university bookstore. We spend several hundred dollars on books each semester.We’ve gone back to the bookstore and been paid a measly return, even for books in excellent condition.The bookstore, in turn, is able to parlay this deal into sweet profit a few months later, when we trot back to the bookstore and buy the same books our fellow students used last semester, paying several times what the bookstore bought them back for.And, as upsetting as it has been, Chapman students have done nothing about the situation.But, suddenly, junior Kurt Dusek has taken it upon himself to build a Web site at which Chapman students can circumvent the middleman, and let the savings roll in.Bully for you, Kurt; I can’t tell you how thankful we all are.Recent articles in The Panther have addressed the residence life conditions, exacerbated by construction in recent months, that have been bemoaned by students for semesters.Sophomore Travis Mantych decided to quit moaning and take decisive action.Mantych drafted a petition which addresses the potential violation of California law that dormitory conditions have caused. He has requested an audience before the university’s administration, at which he may voice the opinion that many students hold, but feel powerless to act on: The university should partially refund the residence life bills of the students affected by the adverse dorm conditions.And, indeed it should.Such a refund won’t happen with Mantych working alone. When he meets with Chapman’s administrators, Mantych should bring along as many like-minded students as he can find. With enough pressure, the university won’t be able to continue acting guiltless. These are two examples of grassroots activism at its best.Students don’t need to always look to their leaders to enact positive change; they can do things themselves. Parking has been bad all semester. It seems as though it’s not a priority for the university, so do something about it! If you’re a commuter, form a carpool group. If you’re a resident, use the money you’ll save from the new textbook website to buya bicycle! No to-go boxes at the cafeteria?Make your own — a lunchbox will do the trick.There are a variety of on-campus problems that students would do well to address.The key is finding the creative way in which to do it.It’s easy to not deal with a problem – you can rationalize inaction by telling yourself that someone else should fix it, or that maybe you’re the only who thinks it’s an issue.The next time you notice a problem, on this campus or otherwise, I want you to step up to the plate and do something to take care of it.Set the wheels in motion. Get other students working with you.And, it doesn’t have to be a big problem — little problems are easier to solve, and just as rewarding to have dealt with. This is a message to all those Kurt Duseks and Travis Mantychs out there: We need you. Keep setting the example for us. We will not only assist you in your campaign, we will follow your lead, and begin to take the initiative ourselves.Some students may be fortunate enough to have parents who can pay for their four-year hiatus at Chapman, but all students should make a concerted effort to get the most out of their time here, whether academically or otherwise. In the words of civil rights activist Florynce Kennedy, Don’t agonize. Organize.

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