Editorial: Get involved, stay informed and share your voice


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Richard Martinez, sophomore in journalism and mass communication, attracts attention to the First Amendment Day tent on Central Campus on April 20.

Danielle Ferguson

Cyclones, it’s time for a challenge.

This might not be the first thing you want to hear after a summer of relaxing on a beach, drinking lemonade or weekend barbecues. The Iowa State Daily Media Group hopes you all had wonderful summers.

But it’s time to get back to business.

Every semester brings in both new and returning faces, personalities, hobbies and goals. With these new characteristics on campus, new challenges — and new issues — arise.

During the spring 2015 semester, there were three timely warnings for sexual assaults sent out to the ISU community. Surely more than three students were sexually assaulted, but victims were too ashamed or scared to come forward. Also, the university only sends out timely warnings if something is an imminent threat to campus. Campustown is not in that jurisdiction. We may never know how many students are actually sexually assaulted.

The latest Student Government election had a turnout of only 12.8 percent, or just over 4,000 students. Student population is more than 34,000.

And until the end of the spring semester, students weren’t outwardly doing much about these things.

Toward the end of the spring semester, we finally heard students speaking out against sexual assaults. Student groups held vigils and fundraisers. Opinion articles and letters to the editor on the issue increased.

People seemed to know who the new Student Government leaders are, Dan Breitbarth and Megan Sweere, by the way, and seemed to actually kind of care what they have planned for this year.

It’s awesome that some are acting more invested in campus life. But, we can always do better.

This is a new academic year. New issues will surface and old issues will have added angles.

But it’s also a chance to revamp and start fresh.

And the Iowa State Daily Media Group has a challenge for you.

Don’t worry, it’s not too much of an addition to your already packed workload of hours of classes, homework, studying, lab work, Netflix, video games or gym time.

It’s simple: Get involved, stay informed and share your voice.

You’ll become more of a well-rounded person who can hold an impressive conversation with an adult with a big kid job, or a possible future employer.

The Iowa State Daily Media Group is poised and ready for a challenge and a change this year, and you should be, too.

So what do we mean?

We want you to know what’s going on around campus. We want to share your stories. We want to know what makes each part of this campus tick. And we want to share that with all of you in the most efficient and innovative way possible.

But in order to do that, you need to hold up your end of the bargain.

You’re going to need to care.

You’re going to need to care about what’s happening around you. You’re going to need to care enough to say something if you see something (stole that catchphrase from ISU Police; thanks, guys).

Stay informed:

This year is one of the influential ones that pops up every four years: the caucuses. Higher education is a big topic this election: Yes, that means you and basically everything you’re paying for every single day. You should, at the very least, know the names and parties of the presidential candidates.

But you should demand more. You should demand to know more about your presidential candidates. You should especially demand to know their stance on higher education funding and student loans.

Get involved:

Join a club. Volunteer. Go to a campus-hosted weekend event. Attend a lecture. The ISU Lectures Program brings in numerous interesting and engaging speakers meant to get you thinking and questioning. Nationally and internationally recognized speakers have come to campus. Take advantage of that. Shake their hand. It’ll do you better than another episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” By doing these things, you will become more invested in your community and more willing to learn and care about it.

Share your voice:

Write a letter to the editor. Put up a booth at the free speech zone. Contact your local representatives. Do something. If you have a problem with the way things work, say it. That’s what is so great about this country: You’re allowed and often encouraged to speak up.

This challenge does not discriminate. Not by age, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, GPA or otherwise. Everyone has the responsibility and the opportunity to do these three simple things.

So everyone, welcome back. Hope you had a wonderful summer.

Now, let’s get to work.