Engagement: More Than a Buzz Word

Okay, so last issue I got the formal welcome thing out of the way. From now on I’m not going to give you some sort of generic Students’ Council missive. In fact, what I want to do is give you a window into some of the things that I’m passionate about. Ultimately, you probably don’t really want to hear about every one of the issues that I stand for, but I think that I can communicate many of them within a Huron context.

One thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the idea of political engagement. WAIT! Don’t just turn the page because of that horrendously boring catch phrase. The word ‘engagement’ is, without a doubt, one of the most overused words in today’s political discourse. Unfortunately, it has been tossed around so much that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore. I myself have been guilty of using the word as a crutch to explain the concerning level of apathy towards all levels of politics.

But seriously, what does it even mean to be engaged? I mean, aren’t we all to some extent engaged in politics, just by virtue of living our lives? Does engagement really mean that we have to religiously follow the news or subscribe to the latest updates from CPAC (that random channel that broadcasts the House of Commons debates)? Is it possible that being politically engaged is actually just observing the problems that face our friends, our families and us? Instead of putting politics on a pedestal I think that it might be valuable for us to realize that at a basic level, politics are merely the representation of the natural challenges of our lives.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we should absolve ourselves of our civic responsibility just because we experience politics everyday. In fact, what I’m saying is the opposite. Shouldn’t political engagement, or whatever you want to call it, be intuitive and the easiest thing that you’ve ever done?

Think of it this way. When you were in kindergarten, to whom did you go when your friends were being mean to you? Well, unless you were one of those kids who took justice into your own hands, you probably ran to your teacher. You knew that she or he was going to be your best support and best help for solving the problem at hand. In a rudimentary sense, this expression of concern was your first foray into the political process. You had a problem, you recognized it, and then you asked someone to fix it. Shouldn’t this be the way that we look at politics in the broader sense?

Follow me for about three more paragraphs…

The way I see it, our role, as the Huron University College Students’ Council, is to somehow make you believe in us enough to trust that we are your best support; or at least one of many good supports that can help you when you need to solve a problem in your life. Obviously, it would be ridiculous for me to suggest that we can solve every problem that you encounter during your time at Huron, but I will say with absolute confidence that we care too much to let any problem go unaddressed. Just the other day, someone mentioned to me that there really needed to be a Canadian flag flown outside of the College. In this case, an individual stepped up and spoke to me because they knew that I might have a decent chance of solving their problem. I have since contacted the College administration, which has begun to explore the possibility of having a Canadian flag flown.

This one little example isn’t meant to act as a self-inflicted pat on the back, it’s designed to illustrate just how easy political engagement can be. All it takes to be engaged is an expression of concern to the right person about something that bothers you. Somehow we have to get people to start doing this at Huron. If you have a problem, don’t just sit on it. Come and talk to us. Knock on my door until I can’t ignore you any longer or get in touch with me in anyway you can, because we do have the ability to help you reach your goals and solve your problems.

Okay, well, there you have it. I don’t know whether I’ve been interesting or thought provoking, but at least I’ve given you something other than the generic babble that comes out of most Students’ Council messages. I don’t deny I’ve babbled, but to be honest, I don’t think that it has been generic. Anyway, if you’ve read this far in the article, thank you. I’m very grateful for your dedication to reading, however, I am only going to be truly proud of you if I see you in my office or read an email about something that you are passionate about.

Talk to you soon!






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