Most students at Oklahoma Christian University are monetarily blessed.
While some may struggle to pay tuition or have little to no money in their bank accounts, every student likely has a bed to sleep on and a roof over their head. This counts for something.
Students here are comfortable, but within a twenty-mile radius of campus, an entirely different world exists, a world which students and faculty must become aware of.
Oklahoma City beats the national and state averages for crime in almost every regard. Oklahoma has the highest rate of incarceration for females in the United States. We also live in a state where residential segregation persists well past the Civil Rights Movement. Locally, there are numerous issues beyond Oklahoma Christian’s immediate radar. Nationally, there are more.
Of course Oklahoma Christian has programs to help those on the outskirts of society, but students must ask themselves how often they think about or make concrete plans to help the marginalized.
Whether I admit to it or not, I tend to make myself my priority. I care more about my life and issues approximate to me: my friends, my classes, my family. All of these elements are extremely important, but I know I have to make room for more people and more societal problems. I know I can not only care about myself.
As depressing and discouraging as it may be, the first step to becoming aware of these problems is to watch the news. Not just local news, but national and global as well. As Americans, we sit in a position of privilege. This does not necessarily mean we should feel guilty for living in America, but it does mean we have a responsibility to at least keep a pulse on what occurs throughout the world.
I have talked to many students who say they do not watch the news because it makes them “sad.” I would venture to say it makes refugees sad when we do not know they exist. It makes starving children sad when we eat in abundance and do nothing to help with their situation. It makes people living under corrupt administrations sad to know people who have relatively “easy” lives do not bother to learn about their daily struggles. It makes the victims of one of the 40 active wars in the world sad to know we have the tools to become aware of their situations, but we actively choose not to. I could go on.
While it is impossible to become an advocate for every issue, and awareness does not always lead to action, we can try to become better and more responsible global citizens. We have a moral responsibility, especially as people living in one of the richest nations in the world, to share our wealth and resources.
As a student, this challenge is daunting, and we may not have the monetary resources to advocate for change, but we have our voices. We have our prayers.
Each individual should strive to attain global awareness because no one got to choose where he or she grew up. It was all by chance. Though there are exceptions, here in America children reap the benefits of growing up somewhere with greater opportunities.
We cannot let those incredible blessings go to waste by caring more about our clothes or social status or even our grades. Imagine what would happen if every student at Oklahoma Christian took that energy and projected it toward a cause close to their heart. This campus alone would have the capacity to make an even larger impact on the world than we could ever imagine.
It only takes one person who cares about an issue to make a difference. That person could be you.