When I first came to college, one of the biggest shocks I faced was how many organizations exist on campus. UC Riverside proudly boasts of having over 400 organizations, a shocking contrast to my previous high school, which only had a handful of genuinely active clubs. From culture clubs to sustainability programs, UC Riverside has something unique for each student in mind.
However, this isn’t always a good thing.
Every Wednesday, different organizations table in front of the Belltower, the central meeting place on campus. Yet, with the diversity that the campus takes pride in, I have found that many of the organizations have the same purpose, but hold a different name. All have the same intention of making action toward for the same cause, yet they are all separated within their own sphere, with their own members and with their own events.
Although I applaud the trailblazers who summon the courage to begin an organization, it is time to realign our perspectives, put aside our pride as the founder of a repetitive movement and collaborate with like-minded individuals who share the same goal of affecting change. We need less start-up organizations and more collaboration from people across campus passionate about the same issues.
We all want to leave a name for ourselves, to carve our legacy boldly within the limitations of our timespan, but to do so require the humility to join, instead of jumpstart, an organization. Revolutions and movements fail because of internal frictions, and competition amongst who should be collaborating with us. Creating more and more organizations that serve the same purpose only limits the amount of strong leadership and action that can come out of the group, thereby dispersing meaningful talent and ideas that should be capitalized upon.
Organizations, we need more volunteers. It is time to throw away our preconceived notion that success is found in beginning an organization, starting an initiative, or being the first to rally. There is power in numbers, and we need more people to show up to the same cause armed with the desire to do good. The issues on campus are not changing because of our desire to be the ones to take credit for the action, rather than being a rallying force behind the organizations themselves. Every little task matters when creating change, regardless if it is publicly recognized or not.
Call me crazy, but I would rather have five organizations full of dedicated team members whose passion match their results than five hundred organizations serving the same purpose but in different spaces, thus further dividing the campus community. It is time for us to join hands, to extend the olive branch, and to begin to think about how we can all make change as a collective force.
When students unite, we are unstoppable. However, campus administration and statewide governance has the tendency to rally students against each other. The UC tuition freeze was intentionally made for two years, so now upperclassmen do not see the value in rallying for the continuance of the freeze for the underclassmen. There are forces that are trying to divide and diminish the power of a student voice, and it is on us to stop it, to swallow our pride, and to merge organizations towards the common goal of making the campus a better place than what we once found it.