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Throwback Thursday, 1983: Campus Communication and American Exceptionalism

1983

Editor’s Note: The following are two articles from Emmanuel College’s student newspaper, Emmanuel Current, from October 1983.

Emma Nuel

Hi, my name is Emma Nuel. I got to Emmanuel college and I’d like to know what events are going down and why my tuition goes up, just like you. I’d like to be made aware of what’s happening in my environment, how about you? Well, this is your chance! Emma Nuel is you! In each newspaper issue I will try to help make you aware of an arising issue.
This issue, I want to know what’s happening to the lower parking lot. I asked my friends and these are the answers I received:

“They are putting in grass and trees for development.”
“Putting in grass for commencement.”
“Putting in grass, why? I don’t know, but it really makes me mad because we need to spend money on other things.”
“Because they have a problem with irrigation and they need grass for drainage.”
“To make the campus more centralized.”
“Because they are crazy!”
“To make the campus look nicer with more grass.”
“They are putting in grass because the administration building has a problem with sewerage or an oil pipe or something [and] the administration wants the campus to look prettier.”
“They are redoing the parking lot.”
“They plan to sell the science building and they want to centralize the campus.”
“For drainage, the sewers used to overflow and get icy — that was too dangerous.”
“Putting in grass, I don’t know why.”
“Regreening the campus, no specific reason really.”
“They want to make the campus look nicer, I don’t know why; we need the parking space.”
“A drainage problem; they will put more parking by the church.”
“I haven’t the slightest idea.”
“They want the campus to look prettier — more greenage, so they are taking out the parking lot.”
“Putting in a lawn. Why? It’s nicer than a parking lot.”
“They are making it all green, I don’t know why. It’s ridiculous!”

Well, so much for the adequately informed Emmanuel Campus! Am I paying $8,000 plus to have my own piece of sod?
If there is a legitimate reason for this madness, why weren’t we enlightened?
Don’t we have the right to know?
WELL EMMANUEL?
Signed,
Emma Nuel

 

 

Yankee, Go Home
by Amy Robinson

This summer, I had the opportunity of talking with a young man from Poland, who was spending time in this country participating in an experimental program in international living. In the course of a conversation, he mentioned that he wanted to do some shopping before he left to buy gifts for his family. I was set aback when, asked what sort of items he had in mind, he replied film and envelopes, it being difficult to obtain them in his country. This knowledge left me feeling dumbfounded and strangely guilty for not being more aware of the material affluence in which I live. Film and envelopes — two commonplace items in our society, yet they were precious commodities which he was bringing back to Poland. The more I heard about the cramped living quarters in his home city of Warsaw, the poor state of medical care under socialized medicine, and the meat rations, the more I became aware of the many advantages and freedoms that I, as an American, had taken for granted.

 

This young man, Andre, stayed with my family the last of his five weeks in the United States. As it was the week that I was packing and leaving for school, I was rather embarrassed to have him see the boxes, bags, suitcases, and other miscellaneous containers in which I was packing. The rainy morning of my departure, he cheerfully helped me pack the car, but I couldn’t help think that he must perceive me as a very materialistic person.
“Simplify, simplify,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in his classic account of the two years that he spent in his own experiment in living in a rustic cabin on Walden Pond. It is very good advice, but I think in many respects it is a bit idealistic. At least I tried to tell myself this as I stood surrounded by my boxes and bags, trying to find even one unnecessary parcel. I wondered what I would do if I had ot live in an apartment with two rooms, a kitchen, and a bath along with five other people like this young Pole.

 

We may not always or appreciate it, but we do live in an affluent society. Granted, not everyone has a “summer cottage” like those in Newport, Rhode Island. Indeed, much to America’s shame, we have many people who, even today, live in a state of poverty which is as difficult to escape as the lowest station of the most stagnant caste system. Certainly this is a situation which is intolerable in America in 1983. Yet apologizing to the needy of this country or any other country will not lessen their plight; only action will do that.
It would be a mistake to be ashamed of the time in which we live. Every century is a separate chapter in the history of civilization, and none is perfect. It was possible for Thoreau to go and live in the woods. Simplicity was easier to obtain at that time, for it was a quieter era. Today with our nuclear capabilities, the exceedingly delicate balance of the world political realm, and the complicated red tape of domestic and economic affairs, going and living in a remote cabin sounds appealing, but it is unrealistic. However, some of our modern day advances are very good. People live longer today than in Thoreau’s time. Medical technology can do things that were not eve dreamed of one hundred years ago. We complain much about our time, its social and political faults, but let us ever be mindful that while Thoreau was living and writing the nation id embroiled in a political, social, and moral battle from which we still feel reverberations today — Negro slavery. We truly have come a long way in a century.

 

After my brief encounter with that native Pole and hearing about how life is in a nation that does not enjoy the same sort of freedom that I Have always taken for granted, I have tried to look with a fresh perspective on the many gifts, both tangible and intangible, that America offers. The simple freedom of being able to come and go from one corner of the globe to another is one feature of our society which I had left sadly unnanalyzed. It is unfathomable for most of us to imagine our government alter our personal freedom, yet in some countries it is just as impossible to imagine life without this hand of oppression.
It is dangerous to idealize one’s country, to overlook its weaknesses. We would be blind fools to have an “all is alive and well in America” attitude. All is not. But is also as dangerous t overlook that which is alive and well, which is much. I think it would be well for all of us to step back for a moment and look at all the good things that America has brought to each of us as individuals. I think if we d this, we will find that, although is is not perfect, she really does have a special magnificence.
My parting statement is: Yankee, go home. Go home to the America that is the benevolent homeland. Don’t forget or overlook her faults. Don’t forget the poor, the hungry, the huddles masses yearning to be free. But also don’t forget the spacious skies and amber waves of grain. Yankee, go home to rediscover what lies at the heart of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

Everything courtesy of Emmanuel College Archives.
The opinions expressed in the “Throwback Thursdays” are not a reflection of the opinions held by current Hub staff or the Editorial Board.

Posted by on October 23, 2014. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.