By Jordan Wandfluh
A voice of an individual should be heard; especially a voice with God-given talent. On March 21 the voice was left unheard by many individuals at the Parkville campus. Rick Barot, a Philippine poet living in Tacoma, Wash., flew to Kansas City, Mo., for the Ethnic Voices Poetry Series and only a hand full sat in the audience.
For an hour I sat intently listening to his art form. His messages ran deep and I left the reading with inspiration swirling through me but one thought stayed with me the most. I was left with an ache for Barot. He flew from Washington to share his word with a measly audience. As an artist I am sure he appreciates every person he gets to speak with but I was disappointed in the community of Park University. Could the students not take an hour from their time to give a visitor their appreciation?
What was the reason for the absent crowd? The Stylus included the event in calendars and professors talked about the event to their classes. From a brief chat with the Stylus staff we came to the conclusion Park has increasingly become a commuter university. It seems the dorms are filled with mostly international students, athletes, and freshmen. When a commuter has gone through the day of classes, the inconvenience of sticking around does not go unheeded. A house of chores and a backpack of homework await them. Dogs need to be taken out and children need to be fed. A 7 p.m. poetry talk is the last event on the minds of commuters. I have to admit I am guilty as any commuter but Barot has given me a sense of culture to contribute to Park University.
Park University needs a change of culture. Merriam Webster defines culture as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization. I want the culture of Park University to be a shared community of individuals coming together from all stages of life. After the chores are done and the children are fed, take the family to the events on campus. A mother and her two children sat in the front row of the poetry reading, a shared experience she could later discuss with her children.
This is where I ask you as a reader to take time out of your busy schedule to experience the hidden jewels Park has to offer. There is a wealth of information these eye-opening events can give you. Even if the events are not of your interest, spread the word of the events. Sometimes it comes down to respect and empathy. The events take time and money to be brought to campus. Email the representatives of the organizations you are interested in and let them know what events you would attend.
Don’t sit back and fly through your college experience. While it is about getting good grades and surviving your courses, at the end of the day it is also about soaking up the extra information and experiences. I once heard life it is not about the materialistic items you have accumulated but by the experiences you have lived.