“Hey you! Yeah, that’s right, I saw you! Come back here and pick that up!”
I was walking to the Reporter office last week when I heard someone yelling. Though he wasn’t talking to me, I was inclined to stop texting and listen, if only to see what all the fuss was about. “You can’t do that, I’m a witness!”
The culprit? An unknown figure in a large, dusty pick-up truck. The crime? Littering. And the loud man on the street? Just a nameless passerby fighting for some eco-justice, standing up for what he believed in with enough passion to yell at a car, now halfway down the road with the windows rolled up; a man who cared about something bigger than himself and had the integrity to do something about it.
Most college students tend to be a bit selfish. “You’re twenty years old! You haven’t done anything,” ranted comedian Louis CK on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. “You’ve just been sucking up resources. You’ve just been taking food and love and education and iPods … If you’re twenty, you definitely have never done a %thing% for anybody.”
As a twenty-year-old myself, I reluctantly have to agree. Although some members of our generation are feeding the homeless (see Recover Rochester, page 11) or traveling to underprivileged countries to volunteer (see Filling in the Gap, page 16) many of us are pretty apathetic. Most of us live in a world focused on individual success. We strive to build up our resumes and professional networks in order to earn a socially acceptable salary and focus on our futures without thinking about the bigger picture.
In many ways, it is important to focus on oneself during college. This is the time we invest in ourselves through our academics and extracurricular activities. In many cases our top priority is, and should be, ourselves. But after two decades of “sucking up resources” — and the occasional iPod — we owe it to our parents, friends and the rest of society to realize what else is out there.
The outspoken environmentalist on the street attempted to dissuade a stranger from littering. Seemingly unsuccessful, his words caused me to throw my empty water bottle into a recycling bin instead of a trash can. If you had encountered such an activist, what might he yell at you to change? Alternatively, what would cause you to yell at a total stranger? You don’t have to volunteer your time or donate what little cash you have left after spring break, just look beyond the collegiate microcosm and educate yourself; find something to care about.