For the Record 2/16 – Dialogues, not complaints

“Shalom. This is Matthew Amstutz calling, and I’d just like to say that it’s a pain writing For the Record sometimes … so yeah … if you’ve got a topic I should write about … let me know. Or, even better, write a perspective yourself! Have a good day.”

That’s the sole entry for Inside/Outside Voices this week.

No, I didn’t actually call in; that would’ve been pointless. Almost as pointless as the weekly task of logging into the Inside/Outside Voices’ gmail account and verifying that no one has left a message.

I know writing this may result in an abundance of Inside/Outside Voices entries and that would be great (assuming people actually read For the Record, which is a stretch, I know).

But it would be even better if students, faculty and administration shared their opinions to a broader audience through a more effective medium than just a rambling phone call. Yes, I’m talking about the Perspectives page (a pat on the back for your thoughts?), but not exclusively.

Through conversations and eavesdropping, I know that individuals at Goshen College are opinionated. But I get the feeling that some are tentative about sharing those opinions, whether it be with friends, enemies, the GC administration, local government leaders or even an R.A.

In a variety of classes at Goshen College, a majority of students must write and submit a “This I Believe” essay to WVPE, the local NPR affiliate. While this might be the first time any of them have written an opinion piece for an actual news source, there’s no reason it should be their last.

A simple way of letting your voice be heard is through submitting a Letter to the Editor to a local newspaper. This semester, I’ve experienced first hand how easy it is for a 300 word opinion bit to get published in the Goshen News or the Elkhart Truth. Their editors appreciate hearing from intelligent and articulate readers just as much as I enjoy reading perspectives written by similarly talented college community members.

I often get annoyed when people complain about Inside/Outside Voices no longer being printed. While they are right, the only reason it is no longer printed is because no one calls in anymore. Even the ever-present Grant Miller has been falling short recently.

But I get even more annoyed when groups of people voice legitimate complaints on an important topic, and then take no action regarding that particular issue. I see that happening a lot at Goshen College.

So yes, friends, complain away. But don’t complain to yourselves. Complain to those that can bring about change, be it at a collegiate, local, state or national level.

And if those who you complain to simply shove you aside, share your opinions with peers. Get your thoughts out there through all manners of publication. That way, like-minded individuals can see they’re not alone, and perhaps together you obtain actual results.

Heck, even I’ll listen to your opinion. Let’s have a chat. But be warned: I enjoy playing the devil’s advocate, especially when I’m absolutely wrong.

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Written by Matthew Amstutz

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