Challenge the status quo
March 14, 2018
Back when I was 10 years old, I didn’t really know what it meant to challenge the status quo. All I knew is that I thought there were unfair rules on the safety patrol. There were all sorts of crosswalk locations that students on the patrol could be assigned – my favorite was literally in front of my house so my mom could run out a poncho if a downpour started.
There were a few other assigned duties, like raising and lowering the flag. Safeties were used to watch the kindergarteners before the bell and raise and lower the wooden horses in the circular drive in front for buses and teachers. That’s where the unfairness came in.
There had always been a rule that only girls could watch the kids and only boys could manage the horses. I have no idea who set this rule, just that I, and my friends, thought it was completely unfair.
So, we decided to do something. Each post took three students to cover it. Nicole, Cherie and I were assigned the kindergartners. Our friends, Mark, Bill and Jimmy, were assigned the horses. The six of us worked together to prepare our points outlining our concerns and scheduled an appointment with the principal – who eventually agreed with our arguments. The next month I was proudly raising those horses while the boys kept the little kids under control. It was a small victory but it felt huge to us at the time.
Lately, young people have been raising their voices to protest much more serious topics than safety patrol rules – and people are listening. As we’ve seen here at MSU, a chorus of young people can lead to needed change. As we’ve seen with the brave students in Parkland, Florida, movements can start with the youngest of voices.
Alyssa Hadley Dunn and Terah Venzant Chambers, both faculty members in the College of Education, recently took a closer look at student-led activism, particularly how race plays into it. Read their joint FACULTY VOICE: Student-led activism, what's race got to do with it?, to learn more about their studies and why they believe “we should strive to be intersectional in our fight for justice.”
Washington, D.C. has been the site of many of the biggest displays of activism throughout our nation’s history. College of Social Science junior Liam Gonzalez wasn’t looking to protest anything by spending time in the city. Instead, he’s spending time there gathering experience in business management through an internship with Washington Intern Student Housing. Read his STUDENT VIEW: More than a WISH, an opportunity of a lifetime, to learn more about his experience and why he thinks “opportunity is hidden everywhere you don’t think to look.”
As Spartans, we find a lot of things worthy of our time and energy and plenty of wrongs we want to right. Hunger, disease, inequality, environmental concerns, social problems – those are just a few of the challenges that Spartans are trying to solve every day. Some do it in the streets raising awareness, while others do it in labs researching solutions. Spartans are constantly striving to make tomorrows better for everyone.
Speaking of tomorrow, I’m sure a lot of people will be tuning in to the NCAA basketball tournament. I’d also guess that a fair share of people will be filling out brackets trying to predict the winners. And, while it’s really just making tomorrow a little more fun for people, a Spartan researcher has put some science behind the madness.
Anjana Susarla is an associate professor in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems in the College of Business and says that “You might have a one in nine quintillionth chance of getting a perfect bracket, but following some data science and predictive modeling might get you a few steps closer.” Check out her FACULTY VOICE: Analytics behind March Madness bracketology, to learn more about numbers behind the game.
No one really knows what tomorrow will bring. I feel like I’ve been living on the edge of the unknown for a pretty long time and it’s pretty exhausting. But, each day I get up and get to it. Some days are harder than others, but I make a point to remember that 10-year-old girl who refused to accept the status quo or give up. After all, I am a Spartan. Spartans Will.