Another spring break has come and gone and we are now in the final homestretch of the spring semester here at UNH. We are running out of time at this place so it is important to make the most of it. College is a hell of a drug. But that is not what I want to talk about today. I want to do something different. I want to make a challenge to my fellow UNH students, the faculty, our community, and anyone else who happens to be reading this. Don't worry, I'm not talking about a $25 million fundraising challenge, because quite honestly I can think of 25 million better ways to spend that money on campus, but I'll save that for another day.
There are a lot of crazy things going on in the world right now. Then again, when isn't there? From Libya to Japan to our own country, to our school and everywhere in between there are conflicts, crises, violence and hate. There is too much of that. There is also love; people helping others and conversations being had that are for the better of the human race. There is not enough of that. There needs to be more of that. There needs to be a world where we consider ourselves to all be members of the human race, because that is the only race that really matters.
The United States is basically involved in three wars (that we know about) and we are being told that these are wars for freedom and peace. Think about that for a moment. Fighting wars for freedom and peace. Maybe we should rename our weapons to help make it sound better. During the World Wars everything that was German was renamed to sound more patriotic. Sauerkraut became liberty cabbage. More recently when France did not follow the United States into the Middle East, French fries became freedom fries. This is a war for peace! Those are not Tomahawk missiles; they are liberation-makers, peace projectiles and freedom finders! Doesn't that sound better?
So you are probably asking yourself what my challenge is; I'm getting to it. There is a quote from the movie "Waking Life" that puts it better than I ever could. It is something that I heard during my senior year of high school and something I have tried to keep in the back of my mind for the past few years. The quote comes from a character who is a philosophy professor and during a conversation he says, "It might be true that there are six billion people in this world, and counting, but nevertheless, what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms, it makes a difference to other people, and it sets an example."
My challenge to the UNH community is to be that example. It only takes one person to say, write or do one thing that can set an entire movement into motion. But that might not even be necessary. A friendly smile, holding the door for someone or helping someone pick up sheets of paper they dropped walking through a crowded hallway in the MUB can be the perfect starting point. It has been a stressful year here at UNH and a lot of people have been affected by the recent tragedies, both international and right here within our own community. Small things do make a big difference, and you will influence others around you to act accordingly. Be the example and soon you won't be an example, but will be the norm. I do believe that one person can make a difference simply by being a human because we can think and act on those thoughts. We are all humans; we can all make a difference. Every movement starts small and evolves and grows. It just takes a little time and belief in the idea that it will work.
I recently celebrated my 21st birthday and a few readers sent me messages about wanting to buy me a drink at a bar sometime. I am not sure how serious they were. It would be awesome, but I don't want that. If you consider yourself a regular reader of my column or the blog, take my challenge seriously because that would be the greatest gift of all, something that would benefit our own campus and the human race.
Stay classy, not UMassy