Stop the stereotypes, please?
Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 19:09
There were a lot of changes to welcome Fredonia students to their campus home this academic year. In addition to the classes and the construction projects, the Dunkirk OBSERVER welcomed SUNY Fredonia students in their college edition as well as giving us special attention on the front page of the Tuesday August 23 issue.
Both of these articles seemed to place heavy attention of the amount of drinking that goes on in Fredonia when school is in session. Let us at The Leader be first to say it: Yes, we are college students and yes, we drink alcohol. But not all of us do and not all students are irresponsible or disrespectful when it comes to drinking. The article "They're back, and they're drinking," which places specific attention on an underage female student who was hospitalized last weekend, seems to generalize and label all Fredonia students as irresponsible binge drinkers.
This article quotes Fredonia Police Chief Brad Meyers saying "we'll know more about what we're going to be up against this coming week." Up against? This seems a little harsh when referring to college students who have decided, at least for the present time, to make Fredonia their home. Among us there are over 400 students in the honors program, thousands of us who participate in over 130 student groups on campus, maintain jobs while in school and take part in hundreds of hours worth of community service projects each year.
According to Joyce Harvard Smith of Volunteer and Community Services, SUNY Fredonia students logged over 14,000 hours of community service hours last academic year. This includes projects with Big Brother, Big Sister, Literacy Volunteers, Habitat For Humanity and the American Red Cross; both on campus in the local Dunkirk, Fredonia and Silver Creek areas. Other campus groups, such as Fredonia for St. Jude and Relay for Life have raised thousands of dollars with their efforts on this campus and in the community.
The numbers are also in on last year's freshman. Fredonia students that began school in the fall of 2010 had an average of a 90 percent cumulative GPA, 1120 SAT score or 24 on the ACT; Not too shabby. Of the 6695 students who applied to Fredonia for admission in the Fall 2010 semester only 3318 students were admitted. As far as higher education institutions are considered, SUNY Fredonia is picky. We are told when we get here that Fredonia students are some of the best students out there yet in one week the Dunkirk OBSERVER has been demeaning to the student body as a whole.
Assistant Managing Editor to the OBSERVER, Greg Bacon, welcomed students in the college edition of the OBSERVER with a letter from the editor. In this letter he talked about the beauty of Chautauqua County and what a great place it is to live. Bacon also offered some advice, "Don't do stupid things like vandalizing your neighbor's flower beds, or playing music so loud that the prisoners in Brocton can hear it." Give us a chance, Greg, please.
There was however some other information in Bacon's welcome letter that The Leader agrees with wholeheartedly. Should you get caught while doing something wrong, "your arrest will be made public for the world to see." We at The Leader hold the same standards; we will not take your name out of the police blotter or off the internet, so remember that before you make a mistake that could jeopardize your future.
Keep in mind also that everyone around is judging our student body and that it's easy to make negative judgments when looking at a group as a whole. It would be asking a lot for the local area to recognize each and every positive thing that Fredonia students do for this community, but don't forget that people are watching.
Remember that you're part of a community, a web of student colleagues who all effect one another. You have a long career ahead of you, and we need to stick together to succeed. Experiment and enjoy your experience here to the fullest. But if you choose to drink, please drink responsibly and behave in a way that will allow you to know that the OBSERVER articles that were published last week were not about you.