University of No Fun? Apathy at UNF

Darvin Nelson, Features Editor

You may not be involved in your school, be a member of an organization that helps you work towards your goal, or participate in a student club.  Like you, many students are not involved on campus and are apathetic in nature towards school. Some students don’t even know what Oz Fest is, let alone who their student government president is.

Spinnaker asked the Director of Student Engagement, Chris Warren, if he thinks students don’t have as much pride or spirit at UNF compared to other schools and why. Warren responded:

“Well I think that’s just because we’re new; we’re less than 50 years old as an institution. You got schools like UF and Florida State that have been  since the 1800s. […] Our University wasn’t around when many of our students’ parents were in college.”

In 2017, UF had 52,367 students and FSU had 32,812 students; both colleges have been around for over 114 years. UNF, 48 years old, recently reached a record of just over 17,300 students. 

Opened in 1972, UNF is still developing as an institution and legacies have only recently started to show up according to Warren. We are continuing to expand the University in many ways as the The Cooper Beach Volleyball Complex was just built this semester and there are plans to build a swimming pool. 

Spinnaker reached out to the Student Involvement Center about student apathy, but the center has not replied as per media time. The Student Involvement Center took the place of Club Alliance in early Spring 2020.

Warren was also involved in Student Government years ago and said that Student Government elections used to be the biggest event and you would see billboards all over campus. Everyone knew that elections were going on. 

“It was a really heated and neat thing to see because we had multiple groups on campus saying ‘whats the best way to make this University better and different,’ and that was a really cool thing to see. […] It was like you couldn’t get off a bus stop without someone talking to you about some idea. We have had so much turnover in Student Government for the last 10 years and I think we lost a little bit of that, but we kinda see John bringing that back a little bit.”

Student Government President John Aloszka spoke of apathy during the annual State of the Student Body Address, stating that Apathy must be the concern of the next administration, the election’s office, the Involvement Center, and of the Athletics Department. But moreover, it must be the concern of each person within Student Government.

“It is disheartening to hear that some students have never been to an event or in a club or to a basketball game,” said Aloszka.

Last year, basketball attendance averaged about 300 students coming to the games and 500 this year. When the basketball team was winning championships, there were probably more or less than 1000 students coming to the games, according to Coach Driscoll. Driscoll also spoke about student apathy and about how being engaged as an individual can benefit UNF students:

“Part of the set-back was all the tailgating scenarios, but that really should be zero reason of why people should or shouldn’t come out and embrace.”

Joslyn Simmons
Tailgates were suspended on campus in February 2018 and never returned after campus alcohol policies were updated to ban alcohol consumption in parking lots and garages.

“Staying in your room on your phone or Playstation, being someone who is an introvert. All those excuses that you want to use, in reality, is such a setback in your growth from ages 18 to 22. That growth gives you a better opportunity to engage to solve problems, and learn how to communicate. You can go out and embrace where your feet are planted and not only build long lasting relationships, but have an enjoyment outside of class.”

UNF is making progress towards engagement as attendance at Osprey Life and Production events are up 30% this year, according to Warren. 

“We have a lot of unique things going on right now, we’re working really hard to figure out ways to better retain and engage students on campus. It’s really about creating a community  and making people feel like they have a home here on campus,” said Warren. “One of the things we’re doing is creating a school spirit group of students. I think one of the biggest things that people need to see is that it’s okay to be passionate about UNF. We can create a community of people who are really excited and passionate about something and say to the rest of the campus that it’s okay to be passionate and proud that you’re an Osprey.” 

 Being involved in your school can not only add some fluff to your resume and give you a leg up on potential jobs, but help you gain the college experience you may be looking for. 

Go out and get out of your comfort because life is going to put you there,” said Coach Driscoll.

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