A close friend and I were aimlessly talking one night and stumbled upon the topic of what our lives would be like if we had never met. A brief silence of wonder and curiosity followed, but was soon interrupted by an intense rebuttal of laughter at the realization that such a reality could not be imagined.
That very realization is the root of what it means to feel connected to someone, and is further experienced on a larger scale with the various groups and communities in which we associate ourselves. Think about the numerous clubs, organizations, programs, and other group related experiences that we have all been a part of. What would your life be like if you never played a sport, were never elected for student government, never pledged a sorority/fraternity, or never attended Trinity University? It becomes quite ridiculous to even imagine a life without the various people, events, and experiences that make us who we are. Since that collection of experiences becomes something so personal, it naturally develops into a universally meaningful experience that inspires us to want to create future memories and participate in future experiences together. That’s how societal communities form. The realization that values, beliefs, interests, passions, and experiences in this life are shared “in common” or are personally “familiar” brings out an identity that is mutually defined, widely recognizable, and can be further developed into a sense of prideful belonging. That’s also why ethnic cultures, political parties, religions, and biases toward professional sports teams have such strong influences in the way people relate to the world; we are proud of who we associate ourselves with, we are proud of what we believe in. That, or our apathy causes us to be alienated from connecting to anyone or anything altogether.
As college students, the opportunity to form and join communities is constantly at our fingertips, so how can we ensure that every opportunity to feel connected, and every opportunity to ensure that everyone feels connected, is not lost? Many campus projects and events do involve students providing experiences and opportunities for each other, but how many of those were for a grade, and how many have felt as if its overall effectiveness was limited to the select number of faces on campus already belonging to your club/organization? As a university community in its entirety, what can we do to further develop a visible and intrinsic sense of campus intimacy, and why does it even matter?
Feasible steps to take synergy within our campus community to the next level:
1) Venturing out to new clubs/organizations by attending their events or programs
2) Organizing stimulating, hands on, and engaging events that involve participants to share their thoughts and work together
3) Collaborating with multiple clubs/organizations for events; bringing in new faces and larger crowds to spark new relationships
4) Expressing your interest in TU Speaks to meet other passionate peers, to start hatching out ideas, and to start planning new initiatives
The future of the university community is in our hands, and we can have as much fun and use as much creativity as the number of experiences, insights, ideas, talents, passions, and perspectives each of us has to offer. It starts with meeting a stranger, and continues with the consistent exchange of passion and ideas between all members of our community.
Let’s get to know each other!
Let’s make the Trinity University campus community stronger than ever before!
P.s. Here are some cool quotes on community!
Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.
Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.