Western is as renowned for its apathy as it is for its formal wear. But just as the most high-heeled and tucked-in students get rugged during exams, apathy also seemed to take a much-needed vacation this Homecoming weekend.
Homecoming has typically been a time when the university attempts to shove enthusiasm down the unwilling throats of the student body. This year, no tongue depressor was needed as students opened wide and said "ahhh" to a refreshing dose of spirit.
Close to 8,000 students bared the cold to watch the Mustang football team destroy Waterloo 44-20. Thousands of others participated in campus activities, while alumni and Frosh alike hit the downtown scene.
As a welcome surprise, many students took time out from the football frenzy to address harder campus issues. The prospect of losing Orientation Week was the focus of many peaceful protests, as student support for the cause was made blatantly obvious. "Save O-week" and "Go 'Stangs" signs co-habited J.W. Little Stadium, while other students did some outdoor home-redecorating in the form of massive sheets, painted with the same pro-active messages.
However in the midst of the free-wheelin', free-lovin' throw back to a hippie protest, the main point of public demonstrations may have been lost. While a cause such as O-week was attacked feverishly, other public outcries have yet to draw crowds of support.
Plans for student protests against an issue such as tuition hikes have historically fallen flatter than non-alcoholic beer. The poor attendance of these events carries with it the sentiment of helplessness the thought that some issues are just too big for our little hands.
That's a load of hooey.
The student voice has a tendency to get lost among administration, government and even parliament, but that doesn't mean it goes completely unheard. While supporting O-week is a step in the right direction, students must realize their voices are also needed elsewhere.
When issues like tuition are layered and complex, the possibility for a quick solution is non-existent. The only way these issues will ever be solved is if a long, programmatic plan of attack is initiated.
So initiate it. Write letters. Sit in. Chant "Hell no, we won't go" until they open the door. Or at least slam it in your face.
Recapturing O-week would be a huge victory for students. However, its usefulness may fade when no one can afford to attend university in the first place.