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Students Think Little About Surroundings

Guest column by Abigail Mieko Vargus

I'm always amazed when I look around me. I see thousands of students who just couldn't care less. While I understand how much time classes can take up and how much more time is taken up if you happen to be involved in something (whether that means a sport, an activity, or even a boyfriend), I still have trouble comprehending how little thought so many MIT students put into their environment.

No one seems to pay any attention to most campus issues. When the furor began over the Fishbowl being moved, I was surprised. But not for long. It seems that the original excitement has died down to a mere few who care and a large mass who are just tired of hearing about it. And these people started out saying what an outrage it was that MIT would be so callous and irreverent as to move a place that held such an important place in the minds and hearts of the students.

Obviously, the administration has proven nothing is that important to the students. Some of you may argue that the reaction to the column by Stacey E. Blau '98 about fraternities ["Hypocritical Fraternities Embarrass MIT," Feb. 25] should be evidence that I am wrong. However, I merely saw a lot of head-shaking, very little action, and a campus full of short-term memories. Of course, there is always the question of whether this is a real issue for the MIT community. If the column had focused on her perception that alcohol is too prevalent on campus and at fraternities, it would be something that students and the administration should be concerned about. Most of the people I know saw the column as an insult and not much more.

I was wondering if the Undergraduate Association elections this week would prove me wrong or at least cause me to re-evaluate what I think. Nope. So far I have heard from three people about the elections. That might not be such a bad representation except that two of these people were running for office. One of them I didn't even think knew my last name, but he apparently found it in a determined effort to increase his voting base. Good for him. Of course, he needs to because most of his friends won't even take the very little time required to vote. No one else I know is planning on it.

One thing I have heard many student athletes bemoan is the lack of support for our teams. There is never a crowd of supporting students who care to come out to a game, a race, a match. I am very personally sympathetic with this claim because I belong to a team. Every game we look into the stands and see our faithful few - the boyfriends and the teammates who aren't in the game that night. It's a big deal to each of us if someone we know actually comes to a game.

At the same time, not that many of the athletes who complain will go to see a friend perform or participate in some other activity. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't complain to my friends about their not coming to my games if I didn't make an effort to see them doing whatever it is that they enjoy. That includes everything from acting with the Shakespeare Ensemble to playing another sport to having a party to competing in 6.270 to singing with one of the many vocal groups at MIT.

I could just be an exception. Or maybe I just don't see the activity on campus that really is there. However, in three and a half years here at MIT, I would expect to see a modicum of interest in campus life. Then again, I was warned that I might not have a life if I came here.