Editorial: Make impact on world in positive way; get involved

Editorial Board

As today’s front page would suggest, this was quite a year for Iowa State. Every year on a college campus is sure to bring about some major events, especially when you bring the many perspectives and cultures into one space that a university of Iowa State’s size works to achieve.

It can be an interesting thing to look back on years gone by, whether it is one, four, ten or many, many more. It can be a little horrifying to be reminded of when things went wrong. Whether it’s a campus shooting that will always leave more questions than can be answered and the many “what ifs” that often plague our society. It can be the embarrassment and anger that comes from the riotous actions of a few that destroyed the long awaited efforts of many.

The big thing to take away from these events is that life does not always go as planned. It can be disappointing, upsetting and downright unfair sometimes. Looking back can be hard, but it’s also important. Not only because it’s the best way to learn from our failures, but also because it can be so easy to focus on the negative when there are so many more positives.

The main aspect to remember in going forward, as well as when looking back, is that the world is what you make it. Unfortunately, there are many more individuals content to sit on the sidelines — or more aptly behind their computer screens — and comment on the many mistakes made by others. They are quick to point to how everything went wrong and whose fault it was, but in the end, their opinions matter little as they have never really been a part of effective change to begin with.

No, the positive changes and memories come from those who looked upon what was and thought “I can do better.” They were the students that volunteered their time to coordinate unofficial Veishea events in an effort to remind the community what the tradition stood for, not what one night had made it. There were also many students who stepped forward to begin fundraisers for all of those affected by the riot.

Not only that, but students packed the Great Hall to support and kick it for the kids at the annual Dance Marathon, and students showed off their best work in The Fashion Show 2014. Awards were won, alumni excelled and students across campus strived to make a positive societal impact each day. It is all of these individuals — the doers — who are sculpting the world that we will live in tomorrow.

It’s great to look back and see what was, but it is even more exciting to look forward and see what could be. If you don’t know what your place will be in making a difference tomorrow, that’s OK. Some of you will be graduating in a week, others still have years left on campus at Iowa State and even more of you have already joined the ISU alumni community. The one thing that you all have in common is that you are capable of making a positive difference each day, whether in response to when the worst happens or as a planned activity set to improve the lives of others.

For those of you who have already taken part in making a positive impact, you know the joy that comes with it. If you haven’t, don’t worry. Just remember, in moving forward and in looking back that the world is what you make it, but first you have to act.