Some pundits continue to sound off on how indifferent the latest crop of college students are to community concerns. I beg to differ. Pundits love to spout this popular notion which is designed mainly to disguise the lack of leadership among some of their own generation.
Thirty-five women of the Alpha Zeta chapter of Chi Omega, the nation’s largest fraternity (according to Chi Omega) arrived at my house on Saturday morning at 9:30 in the morning. A program called Bobcat Build parcels out a large number of city beautification projects to various groups of students and citizens. We continue to apply for assistance, and nearly every year we get a work crew to help us trim, dig, plant, paint, and improve our residence which is in the middle of the historic district. Why do we need help? Well, I’m getting old.
This year they planted over fifty pots of flowers, cleared small stumps out of an area so I can cut weeds, pulled up massive amounts of grass from the rose garden where it grows in preference to the lawn, trimmed bushes back that were threatening the air conditioner, and drank 48 bottles of water in the ninety-degree heat. They also hauled fifty pound sacks of dirt, spread grass seed where last year’s drought left bare earth, sprinkled fertilizer over the lawn like professional peasants tending crops, and took a group picture with me and my wife embedded right in the center.
But none of this is what really impressed me.
The women divided themselves into numerous small groups. I circulated around, asking questions about their campus life, what they planned on doing, when would they graduate, and such questions as I’m sure drive college students crazy when they are dealing with old people. I got a lot of very thoughtful answers, I must say. In particular I asked them what they thought about legislation here in Texas which is slated to allow people to carry guns on campus (appalling as this may sound, it’s one of those Texas issues that I personally consider insane).
I was very gratified to hear them uniformly reject the idea of carrying guns on campus. “We’ve got nuts on our campus as it is,” one student, who seemed typical, said. “Are we now going to have nuts carrying guns? I certainly won’t feel safer.”
I especially liked one comment reported to have been voiced by a teacher. “Are you telling me that, on the one hand, we can’t discuss sex for fear of giving students a license to have sex, and on the other hand promote placing guns in the hands of the young and inexperienced and expect that they will act rationally and with restraint. It’s insane.”
I wonder how many Texas legislators will send their sons and daughters to local institutions where nearly everyone could qualify to carry a weapon?