Ruth's Diary


I feel the need to write about student apathy.

What I personally looked forward to when coming to Uni was taking part in protests. I thought that my parents had studied during the revolutionary student protest movement but in actual fact, that revolutionary fever had died down once my parents got to Leeds. They began studying during the late 70s, so the general student atmosphere was to have good time, so said Dad. That said, there was still a certain keenness or willingness for attending protests, which I inferred from the fact that Dad went to a protest on a coach. These days, we're lucky to fill a mini bus.

During last year 'Bob the Poet' as he is known wrote a rant in his paper, the Cambrian Snooze. It was shortly after his personal campaign at Fresher's Fair, where he was disillusioned about student attitudes and was harshly critical of the advertisements of various societies for drinking opportunities and socials. He then talked about when he was a student and wondered what was to blame for the shift in perspectives from overtly political and radical to just wanting to drink and enjoy all the commercial products.

It would be better to consider the thoughts and considerations of students. A large bulk of the students here are willing to discuss the various issues, both social and political on a global scale, that confront us in casual conversation (I remember Jeff and Andrew being in a heated debate over Welsh regional airports last term). Some students are not completely up to date with the news, but considering a large number of those who live in student accommodation don't have TVs well it's understandable: they can't just casually watch morning or evening news. Then there are other students who buy a newspaper on most days.

Sometimes in our People and Planet meetings or on our stalls, we wonder why students are so apathetic. But while on our stalls we do have a minority of students (who are not in a hurry) stop and engage in a debate on the issue we raise. So it's unfair to say that students are generally apathetic. It is baffling, of course, why most students are not so eager to sign petitions or enter protests. Well it's generally a result of disillusionment. Many students will not take action on an issue they feel strongly on unless they feel it will achieve results. Many are of the opinion that no matter how many protests are attended or petitions are signed, the politicians will not change their minds and the situation won't change. 

So student apathy is hardly the problem, it's student pessimism.

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