To the first-years reading this, you are probably already sick of hearing UD’s favorite word: community. You are not alone. Upperclassmen tend to groan and roll their eyes whenever that word is uttered.
Despite the outwardly negative reaction, community is an idea we have all come to internalize, often subconsciously, without thinking about our actions. The idea of participating in a service event becomes ingrained in our minds. Students travel to Central America or Africa to work on engineering projects through ETHOS. The Center for Social Concern sponsors international cross-cultural immersion trips. National breakouts. Service Saturdays. The student body as a whole tends to keep the concept of serving, and building, the community in mind—even if they don’t like hearing the c-word. And with that word, comes inclusivity.
While all the programs offered on campus have noble goals in mind, the issues within the global community should be considered, too. There are many students on this campus that are affected, in some way, by issues much larger than us.
The migrant crisis in Europe has direct ties to countries where some international students come from. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are very close to Syria, and neighbor Iraq, where ISIS has pushed some 3 million citizens out of their country. Migrants also come from Afghanistan and may travel through these countries—at the least, traveling through Libya, where some UD students grew up. Germany, another country where international students traveled from, recently announced it would open its borders to these migrants.
Arguably not as dangerous, many international students come from China, where there have been major concerns over the massive country’s economy.
Obviously, these issues are too large to be handled by one person, but being aware of what’s affecting our fellow students can help make UD’s community more closely-knit and more open-minded. Knowing your family is experiencing hardships back home is hard enough when they are in the same country as you; it can be even harder to handle when your family is halfway around the world.
You don’t have to know all the details or try to solve someone’s problems, but being attuned to whether a person is struggling with something in his or her home country improves our campus’s climate—for everyone.
Being a community means being inclusive—not just of those from our own country, but everyone who has traveled any distance to attend UD.