Why Artist Lecture Series alone won’t change this campus

Rachel Johnson, mass communication senior

Let me just say out of the 3-and-a-half years I’ve been at MSU, I’ve attended at least 10 Artist Lecture Series. I enjoyed almost all of them and took something away from each.

It’s a great concept: bring in well-known speakers from around the world to talk about a certain message, usually with an endgame of bringing unity to those who attended. Considering all the hate that is spread so fast through social media and technology, I am for loving your neighbors and spreading peace. However, one Artist Lecture Series won’t change that.

I left almost every lecture with a sense of hope that people around me would change after hearing such a powerful message, that we would all leave feeling unified and stronger together, that we wouldn’t let this lecture be the start and end of the change we need on campus. Yet every time, I was disappointed.

We all went back to our own lives, got wrapped up in our own bubble again and eventually forgot the message we all were so passionate about. This Artist Lecture Series with Frank Warren was intense. People were given a chance to open up about themselves and the secrets they had never shared with anyone before. For the few that shared, all of them felt as if a weight had been lifted off their shoulders. And those that listened, their love went out to them. For those few hours, everyone who attended was a friend to one another and showed genuine feelings of caring for a stranger.

The thing is, the next day everything went back to the same. No one continued that same caring for a stranger we all were apart of the night before. An artist lecture alone won’t change this campus. It’s going to have to be you, me and everyone else to change how we think, act and do things toward one another. If we want to see genuine unity around campus, then make the change within yourself. If you want to see people around you love on strangers the way we do at Artist Lecture Series, then be more friendly.

People around this campus tend to be in their own world walking from class to class, so stop avoiding reality and embrace the people around you for who they are. Smile, wave, maybe even say “hi.” If you want to be proud of this campus, then take pride in it, and make it something you can be proud to say you are apart of. Listening to an Artist Lecture Series won’t change this campus alone. The change has to come from ourselves. The message is to love your neighbors, embrace each other’s differences and be unified together. Stop going in the same circle over and over again because maybe the reason they continue to bring people with similar messages to this campus is that we aren’t being receptive to it when we really should.