Stop the weekend exodus

Mackenzie Bush

There’s an odd phenomenon that happens at Grand Valley State University. On Wednesday nights, you can find bands playing, documentaries screening, and advocacy groups advocating; you can stay out until ten or eleven attending these extracurriculars and events.

But on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the student population is largely absent. As someone who’s usually around on weekends, I can testify that tumbleweeds routinely blow across the sidewalks.

I have some advice for the freshmen this year. Maybe you can be the class to stop this exercise in the banal.

Stop going home every weekend. Or even every other weekend.

Firstly, I think that this mass exodus three days out of the week has a negative impact on campus and intellectual engagement. It limits the days that clubs and organizations want to schedule events for, for one. Unless it’s a huge event with a large amount of university backing, student orgs steer clear of scheduling any weekend programming, because it performs poorly. This leads to a lot of event stacking and competing for time slots, causing students to have to choose between two events, both of which they’d like to go to. It also causes events to be scheduled during the day in order to avoid this competition, when many students can’t attend because they have classes.

I think that the campus would be more fun if people stuck around. I’m not necessarily saying that we should become a party school and start burning mattresses in front of the clock tower at every opportunity, but maybe we could have concerts and parties here instead of going up to Western or State for a change.

Going home every weekend also makes the idea that Grand Valley’s campus is a boring one a self-fulfilling prophecy. Students go home because they think that campus is boring over the weekends, but it’s also boring because nobody’s here. It’s extremely cyclical.

So stick around. Go see the plays and maybe even go to a party. Or go check out events happening around Grand Rapids. The buses still run on the weekend (even if it is less often).

Secondly, and most importantly, I think that staying on-campus is important for students’ personal growth and general development into functioning adults.

Many college students still rely on their high school or hometown friends to be their main circle, which is why they go home so often. However, this will stunt the growth of your friendships at Grand Valley, who are more immediate and might end up actually having a longer shelf life.

And if students go home every weekend, they’re not learning how to live on their own – at least not really. You can eat a couple of home-cooked meals every week, which allows you to feel like you don’t have to cook yourself. If you tell your mom how tired you are, she might do your laundry. All of these are crutches, keeping you from being truly independent.

Learn how to cook pasta and select vegetables at Meijer. Become comfortable with attending clothing stores and movie premieres on your own.

I know it’s hard to hear, but you’re not really a teenager anymore. Stop acting like it.