If You Don’t Have Something Nice To Say… Do Something About It


Published: April 30, 2009

At Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), there is always plenty to talk about. For some, there is also plenty to complain about. From the constant Internet issues to class registration problems, Fordham is not a perfect school. However, by the chorus of some Fordham students, you would think the school couldn’t do anything right.

In my four years here, I have heard some of the same things every year: “Senior Week is a joke,” “USG does a terrible job,” and “Lincoln Center has no community,” to name a few. All these quotes can basically be summed up in two words: “Fordham sucks.”

I hear and read these words filtering throughout the entire student body, tearing at the very community some complain about not having. Usually, these comments are made out of frustration, angst or just plain bitching. I believe it is easier to complain about facets of Fordham student life if you are not dealing with those issues face-to-face.

Unlike some bigger schools, FCLC is what you make of it. If you want to get involved, the school will not hold your hand and drag you to join a club. If you would rather chill out and do something different, this school allows you to do that. However, despite the fact that these complainers chose to enjoy alternative outlets of Fordham student life, many of these negative comments undermine the work so many students put in to better the university.

There are student leaders sprinkled around our campus who work to improve what goes on at Fordham. Many work tirelessly, interacting with administration, learning about new technology, taking charge of executive issues and listening to friends who still sing the same “Fordham sucks” refrain, regardless of improvements made by their peers. Yes, it’s a student’s choice to get involved. Those who make the choice, however, deserve to have some respect from their peers and not to have to deal with the same “Fordham sucks” attitude every day.

The work of student leaders this past year has brought improvements and changes in response to some of the perpetual complaints. United Student Government (USG) brought in more environmentally friendly dryers and urinals to student restrooms due to concerns about Fordham’s resource usage. The Lincoln Center campus hosted its first annual Relay for Life, building community while fighting cancer. Campus Activities Board (CAB) has expanded its events to encompass a vast array of interests from theater to sports. These are just a small number of improvements by various clubs to spice up student life at FCLC.

Contrary to a rather recent political campaign assumption, change does not just happen when people whine and bitch about change. To me, change occurs in two ways. You can either work for it yourself or talk to the right people to suggest concrete and realistic solutions. Nearly every new event or improvement made to the campus comes from one or two student leaders working hard for that change. From USG and CAB to Global Outreach (GO!) and In Strength I Stand (ISIS), many clubs structure their events, objectives and mission statements to address the wants and needs of the student body.

For example, one CAB member saw and heard groups of Fordham students still listening to the Beatles’ White Album and playing the chords to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” She took that realization and worked with CAB to sponsor the first BeatlesFest, which took home the Undergraduate Appreciation Award (UNDY) for the Program of the Year. Through the Student Activities Budget Committee (SABC), students have gone far and beyond to work with club leaders to best utilize club money and provide efficient budgets. Despite suffering a lower-applicant year, both the GO! Lincoln Center board and individual FCLC project teams were able to put on various movie nights and fund raisers to feed both the stomachs and the social consciences of the Fordham community.

Instead of just repeating the “Fordham sucks” refrain, take a chance. Join a club. Talk to a club representative about what you want to see changed. Come up with realistic ways to address those concerns. Otherwise, students making disparaging comments end up undercutting the diligent work of other students, as well as becoming the very problem they are complaining about.