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Commentary: Divide & Conquer – Let’s be CiVL, shall we?

Winston Churchill talked about it. We’ve seen it happen in the Middle East. It’s a rampant phenomenon in Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America, as well as all over Mexico. We’re seeing it now in the American democratic movement more than ever before between Tea-Party, Momma Grizzlies, and anti-Obama rhetoric.

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by Aaron Levy (Station Manager, CiVL Radio)

Winston Churchill talked about it. We’ve seen it happen in the Middle East. It’s a rampant phenomenon in Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America, as well as all over Mexico. We’re seeing it now in the American democratic movement more than ever before between Tea-Party, Momma Grizzlies, and anti-Obama rhetoric.

Divide and conquer.

As of last week’s Cascade, it’s clear that the time tested method of infiltrating enemy territory and splitting their unity is at work here at UFV.

Dis-O 2010 was my first.

Like most of the students in attendance, it was my official introduction to Abbotsford campus life.

UFV is the fourth post-secondary campus that I’ve spent at least one semester on since 2003, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t that unimpressed. Sure, Said the Whale isn’t my thing, but I definitely dig Whale Tooth after having seen them a couple previous times, and the local openers definitely held their own. More than anything, I think it was great that SUS was able to execute the kind of event that they did on such a limited budget.

No one could help the rain, even shows in Victoria were sucking on that fateful Thursday night as a result of the weather.

If there’s one lesson for SUS to learn for next Dis-O, and there absolutely needs to be one, it’s to invest in a festival tent in case of rain.

If there’s one lesson for the UFV population at large, it’s to start taking stock of the kinds of relationships we have amongst our quasi-isolated student enclaves.

After reading last week’s Cascade, I was utterly appalled by the uncouth and ill-advised, Republican style mud-slinging that my colleague and friend Paul Falardeau printed as a review for the Dis-O. (Paul also hosts the excellent Electric Church on CIVL 101.7 FM Saturdays from 6-8 pm, www.civl.ca .)

It’s a tough time for young people in North America.

Employers don’t want to give us jobs, governments don’t want to make it easy for us to get educated, and if we do persevere through the elements, put ourselves and our ever so slim credit ratings on the line, we’re under constant scrutiny from one another to perform at a level that each other view as admirable.

Do we really need to be spending time and dozens of inches of print space berating one another for our well intentioned efforts in trying to improve our lives and experiences on and around campus?

Perhaps the most insulting aspect of the coverage the Cascade provided on the Dis-O festivities were the explicit call to replace our SUS representatives, as well as the implication that CIVL had ‘nothing’ at it’s Dis-O booth.

Define nothing.

T-shirts and hoodies for sale, brand new newsletters which were produced only for distribution at the event in question, and volunteer recruitment forms may not amount to the shock of an all encompassing apology for Christianity, and it may not be as flashy as what our stellar design students put together for their booth, but it’s by no definition ‘nothing’.

Furthermore, the temptation to blame the annually elected representatives sitting on SUS for the inability of the student population to mobilize itself should not be that hard to resist for a journalist, editor, or high school graduate of any vocation.

I’m coming to Abbotsford from a town slightly smaller, and a student population at least twice as strong, and still getting students out to events at an institution that’s been running strong for 40 years is hella difficult. Students have torrents, DVD’s, and TVShack to entertain them.

At least Dis-O didn’t end up like Simon Fraser University’s autumn blow-out, where K’naan refused to play the day of his scheduled campus performance as a result of their student society failing to provide the promised $40,000.

More than anything, it’s embarrassing that at one of the fastest growing universities in Canada, in one of the fastest growing regions in the country, our student groups turn against each other at the drop of a few millimeters of rain.

Sure, we all feel like we’re owed a lot that we’re not seeing come, but that’s what makes it time for us to stand up together and agree that we want a better student life, and a better support system for the struggles we’re all facing.

We don’t do it by calling each other out on what disappoints us about the initiatives we do choose to work on. We do it by actively participating in the structures and processes that societies like ours work under. Not participating by blowing off steam in public forums, but participating by getting off the couch and talking to one another about what we do want, not about what we hate about what’s going on right now.

Positive change – call me cheesy, but isn’t that what student movements are all about?

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