Letter to the Editor: A Response to “A Plea From a Rising Senior: Prove me Wrong”


To start, a disclaimer is in order: Everything that follows, whether stated intentionally or unintentionally as opinion or conjecture is based off of my own personal experiences at Colgate University. I imagine and in fact have quite a strong hunch that there are plenty of students and even alumni who have shared similar experiences. We just tend to be the quiet ones, those who, like so many at Colgate, have had our voices or feelings muted by the blaring subwoofers that line the houses of College and Broad Street every Saturday afternoon in Hamilton. I know, negative vibes aren’t what you need right now, I get it. So, let me tell you the light at the end of the tunnel first, and then we will figure out how we can make it there together: Colgate, we can do this. 

I have never been too intent on sharing my genuine raw opinions about Colgate to the broader “community” on campus. Beyond the occasional intense and I mean really intense late nights at Frank where my close friends and I always seem to dive into something controversial about our campus, I usually keep many of my opinions about Colgate to myself (as a quick aside, my apologies to anyone who has been disturbed by my yelling in Frank at midnight on a random Tuesday, we really get into it). Anyway, what I’m trying to address is why I find myself writing this. Well, besides putting off work that I should be doing, I feel a compelling sense of duty at this moment. In other words, I think I owe it to you all to write this. You don’t have to read it, and if you do, you certainly don’t have to agree with me. All I ask for is an open mind, and a chance to be heard.

After I woke up this morning, one of the first things I stumbled across on my phone was “A Plea From a Rising Senior: Prove Me Wrong.” Now, as a fellow rising senior, I’ll admit I was intrigued, and I encourage everyone to give it a read. The article ends with the same challenge posed to us in its title, “prove me wrong.” I agree with the author’s sentiment in that I am not convinced the student body of Colgate will do what needs to be done for the sake of the Colgate community and the village of Hamilton as a whole. That being said, I do know that it can be done. I promise you that you can survive without being hungover five days out of seven and you will live without crowding into a backyard for Fraturday. How can I be so certain? Well I, like many others at Colgate, have done so for quite a while.

Let me be clear: I am not shaming anyone’s lifestyle here, even though my tone above may indicate otherwise. I assure you I am trying to make a point, but it’s just taking a bit to get there; bear with me.

If you recall from a couple paragraphs ago, I put the term “community” in quotations, like so. I did this because I am not really sure what the Colgate community is (I know, more negativity, but I promise we will get to the light soon enough). The reality of Colgate’s social landscape is as harsh and never-ending as our winters. Exclusivity is ingrained in the very fiber that makes Colgate, well, Colgate. For a lot of you, this is great! You join fraternities and sororities, make friends that will last a lifetime, and memories that will last just as long. Yet, for so many of us who aren’t in those groups, our experience at Colgate has been quite different. At our school, if you are not in a fraternity or sorority, or even on a sports team or in a major club, social life can be dangerously isolated. Your options may be limited to the Jug, which to be unequivocally clear, should not be open this semester. I understand that for many this may be an uncomfortable pill to swallow, but I need you to understand this truth for us to make it to the other end of this tunnel together. Ready? Here we go.

In “A Plea From a Rising Senior: Prove me Wrong,” the author leaves us all with quite the meaningful reflection: “What if we take the time to learn and care more about each other, simply because we are all, most simply, Colgate students?” In my life, like many others I’d assume, I have found that sometimes the propositions that seem the most straightforward and undemanding are faced with the most complex structural and institutionalized hurdles. However, look around you! Turn on the news, or in my case, go on Twitter! Nothing can impede our generation from creating the change we deem most necessary. 

Want to talk about privilege for second? How about the fact that so many of us are in a position that perhaps our biggest concern in returning to campus is if people will be able to restrain themselves from having typical Colgate parties? I mean, come on. Read that sentence again. Read it until you understand how truly silly that is. I know we can do what it takes to protect the Colgate and Hamilton communities because so many of us and many not by choice have been excluded from the very lifestyle that must not continue this semester if we want to be safe. 

We can change Colgate. Together, we can make it so people are accepted and embraced for who they are, not shut out and excluded for who they aren’t. Doesn’t that sound like what a college campus should be anyways? If we continue to call on administrators to make our campus more inclusive yet do little to accomplish that goal ourselves, we are the hypocrites. We are better than this, Colgate. We have to be. 

That is our light at the end of the tunnel, Colgate. If we do this, perhaps we will then genuinely understand and accept each other as a community of peers, not of exclusive in-groups and cliques. Then maybe, just maybe, we can all look back and say we left this campus on a hill better than we found it.