The Journal, University of Illinois at Springfield Weekly Campus Newspaper

Got a problem? Try something besides Facebook

November 4, 2009

Got a problem? Try something other than Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004. The lives of college students were never the same again.

Today a user can join or create online groups for topics ranging from mundane (“I’m absolutely in love with Edward Cullen and the Twilight series”) to unneeded (over 500 groups called “I Like Music”) to downright ridiculous ("Physics Don't Exist, It's All Gnomes").

What perplexes us at The Journal is the activist Facebook groups that have sprung up online. If you have a Facebook account and at least one friend from UIS, you're bound to have been invited to groups urging the administration to stop looking at student's Facebook accounts, lobby for the MAP grant or rid UHB of the smelly plants.

While the intentions of these groups are admirable, the question becomes whether they solve the problem they intend to address. Are passive-aggressive online forums really the best way to have your voice heard on this campus? Are you even Facebook friends with John Ringle, Richard Ringeisen or Tim Barnett?

This phenomenon speaks to a larger issue at UIS, student apathy. These Facebook groups give a "voice" to students who enjoy complaining but would rather wait until somebody else makes the change they so desperately seek. Our generation is full of self-centered exhibitionists, unable to take responsibility for their own actions.

Often, the administration becomes the scapegoat. Students blame administrators for not being accessible, for denying them services and for general incompetence. But what our "Me-Generation" fails to realize is that universities function on a two-way plane.

Each month Vice Chancellor for Constituent Relations Ed Wojcicki holds a campus forum. The position he holds requires good listening skills and the ability to balance the needs of students, faculty, staff and community members. Last month, only four people attended and only one was a student.

Twice a month the Campus Senate and the Student Government Association meet to discuss issues pertinent to our campus. Often they leave space in their agendas for audience participation with very few students taking the opportunity to voice their concerns.

We at The Journal understand administrator’s frustrations with the lack of student involvement. They want to know what you think can make our campus better.

Administrators in the academic sectors and the student affairs department can only shove so much information down students' throats. It's up to us, students, to take advantage of the services that we pay for through student fees.

You may be spoon fed information from your parents, but this is college. You're here to not only learn in the classroom, but to grow up.
So the next time you get an invite to a group in the virtual world, hit "ignore" and go find the people who can fix the problem in real life.