Involvement and Community At WCU

We are all very privileged once again to have the opportunity to attend an event organized by Dr. Gordon Mercer and the Public Policy Institute (PPI) here at Western Carolina University.

This year’s event is particularly special, however, because it involves everyone throughout WCU, more so than it ever has before. This year’s PPI event is an assembly with an interesting topic to be addressed: Revitalizing the Spirit of WCU: Creating Participation and High Morale.

Perhaps this title alone does not sound like something you want to skip karaoke night to attend. But think about it a little more, and you begin to realize that an assembly on such a topic will have good speakers, speaking on a subject that concerns you.

Think long enough, and you might begin to question the definition of an assembly. Let’s say you look it up in the American College Dictionary. Under the word “assembly,” one finds: “a company of persons gathered together, usually for the same purpose, whether religious, political, educational, or social.”

In our case, the PPI, the Student Government Association (SGA), and the Western Carolinian, wish to call together an assembly for an issue that could be considered educational, political and social.

There will be three student key speakers who will speak about what their vision of WCU’s community is and should become, but the most important speakers will not be the three students or Chancellor John Bardo.

The most important speakers at this assembly will be the students and the faculty.

After the speakers have said what they have to say to you, you will be asked to make suggestions, comments and ask questions. You will have a very direct, very powerful way to begin to make change in your community.

And it is your community. WCU’s community exists to promote learning, and it includes the development of a social life, as well; but you, the students and faculty, do not merely exist within this community: you are the community.

Americans everywhere hold the very idea of democracy as so sacred that, for over 200 years, men and women have given their lives for such an idea.

An assembly of this nature is part of that idea, and indeed was a part of early American development. It can be part of WCU’s development as well, because those same Americans that would die for their country, and its democratic system of government, would also be the first to complain.

Why? Not because they are disappointed so much as it is that they can. It is your right to complain, but those same Americans would be the first to tell you that if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain.

You have the right to complain at WCU, and the letters to the editor pages in many past Carolinians have proven that you do. But with the right to complain comes the responsibility to act. You must act to change things. Simple complaints won’t always work.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself criticizing or questioning a policy, situation or anything at WCU, you are encouraged to attend the PPI’s assembly on October 3, 2001 in the UC from 3pm until 5pm. The assembly will be held in the Grand Room on the third floor. Should the attendance exceed 230 people, the event will be moved to the lawn.

A microphone will be passed around the assembly for participation from everyone, and policy panels will be formed among those attending to form policy recommendations and changes, which will be reported on by the Western Carolinian, and some will even be recommended as bills to be introduced to the Student Senate.