Laughing at satire leads to understanding

By: Andrew Koerner, Columnist, Senior

The last issue of Flyer News featured a piece of satire expertly written by a great friend of mine, Jack Schlueter. Schlueter posed a humorous scenario where AVIATE caused the Marianist brothers living in the student neighborhood to lose their house due to a lack of PATH points.

Satire is a huge part of the world we live in today, and inserting humor into the news is a big reason why Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver have become go-to sources of news for many people. That being said, it is important that we remember not to downplay the issue at hand just because we laughed at it. The issue at hand here is that AVIATE is unfair.

In the last article I wrote, I said that housing’s main goal in implementing AVIATE was to eliminate stress over housing and give students control. I now understand that there are greater issues at hand.

You can pick up a newspaper daily and read stories about overconsumption of alcohol and sexual assault at colleges around the country. The University of Dayton is a university attached to mission. The Department of Housing and Residence Life created AVIATE not only to try to reduce stress over housing but also to be proactive in the education of the complete person; the aim is to get more people on board to learn about these unfortunate issues in our society today and stand up to them.

As we all know by now, the system is not perfect and many are unsatisfied with the sense of forced attendance at events. AVIATE is not inherently mandatory but, in essence, it is if you want a realistic shot at getting a preferred house or ideal location. Long before AVIATE though, myself and other resident assistants were encouraged each year to motivate students to get as involved as possible. Two years later, they may not be involved in as many organizations as they originally joined, but I hope they found something that matches their passions. Some have gone on to be great leaders on campus and, for them, it is simply exhausting to feel a need to attend even one more hour at an event you may or may not enjoy.

Incentivizing housing, as AVIATE has done, dictates what it means to have a worthy college experience. Rather than being rewarded for getting involved, students are punished. Having an absurd number of events to go to gives those that aren’t involved on campus a huge advantage over those who involve themselves in other organizations. It can’t be assumed that everyone will go with the right intent to learn and grow as an individual.

I know from growing up in a Catholic school system that you can’t rely on going to classes and church alone to turn someone into a person of faith; the person has to have a genuine desire. It wasn’t until I was free to explore on my own that I was able to form any sort of identity with religion. Housing hopes that people who go to PATH events out of obligation and without the right intent will get something out of them unexpectedly, but these pleasant surprises cannot be guaranteed. As a result, the system is unfair.

Four of my residents in Lawnview Apartments this year formed a housing group in hope of getting a house. The online indicator displayed green for nearly all of their preferences; they had gone to community building meetings, scheduled house meetings with me and managed to make it to a number of PATH events in spite of their high involvement on campus. In addition, they were excellent at creating an environment where community could exist within their apartment and frequently invited people over. Their placement was Caldwell Apartments.

Housing knows that there are issues with AVIATE, and they are encouraging input on how to improve the system. One issue I have is that of redundancy. I believe that rising seniors could end up hearing a lot of the same things they heard at PATH events in previous years.

If the ultimate goal is to educate students on issues that damage the college experience, why not have an online training and test created to give to students? The higher a student scores, the better their stock is in housing. I don’t believe this is the way to go, but possible solutions have to start somewhere. Even simply limiting the number of PATH events a person can attend per month would make it fairer to students who have taken on a great deal.

I believe we can do away with the stress of the lottery and the unfairness of AVIATE and create something better. But, it will take thoughtful conversations and more input on the part of the student body.