Social networking permits change


As I wandered around Facebook after tiring hours of classes, a new post popped up and quickly got my attention. Some of my friends had just joined a group named "DePauw Class of 2014 Forum." To my greatest surprise of the existence of such a group, I requested to join and was accepted after only a few minutes.

The group already had more than 100 members. It was created by five sophomores, all of whom were senators. Nevertheless, sophomores were not the only ones having their own group. A "Class of 2013 Forum" was also started by junior senators. The objectives of the two were clear — to give their thoughts, share concerns and discuss various other events and happenings on campus that pertain to them while staying in contact with class senators.

In spite of the encouragement from the university, students have always found it difficult to raise concerns or to propose changes about their academic and social life. Even though each class has five senators representing the ideas and thoughts of the student body, it is not an easy task for them to know what problems students are having. On the other hand, students might face difficulties in their life but are unwilling to express their opinions. This can be attributed to the lack of a strong medium of communication between students. Those who have concerns do not know what others think about it, whereas the majority of students are not aware of such issues.

However, that is not the case anymore. As social networks are developing rapidly as an effective and popular means of mass communication, Facebook has been chosen to connect students. The creative idea has proved to be initially successful. After three days, the number of members rose to more than 200. Many students were invited to join by their friends. For those who were not, they could request to join and would get accepted almost right away.

Knowing their opinions will be listened to by hundreds of others, students started to speak up. Topics of discussion vary from academic to social life. As I am living without air conditioning, that became my greatest issue. And as soon as I took my very first glance at the page to see what people are talking about I saw my concern was already mentioned. Once a new idea is presented, people start to express their attitude toward it. 

This exemplifies the importance and convenience of Facebook in facilitating communication. Anyone can comment on a post and hundreds of people can see those comments. A person can have an idea of what the majority think about a particular issue, whether they agree or disagree with it. Because Facebook has been infamous for keeping people updated with group and friends' information, a new post might be familiar to the whole group within a few hours. 

Using Facebook might not always be the best way to increase connections between students, but it is definitely a brilliant one. As long as students have the opportunity to speak up and make changes, they can make their college life unforgettable.

And as for me, my problem might not be fixed right away. But maybe if enough concern is raised, future DePauw students won't have to live in the 100-degree summer of Greencastle without air conditioning.

—Nguyen is a sophomore from Hanoi, Vietnam majoring in economics.