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September 28, 2007
Vol. 49 No. 4

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Letters to the Editor

Cliques halt chances for community

What is a community? Merriam-Webster defines community as "a unified body of individuals." Something that supports the way you feel and includes toward everyone so that you don't feel like an outsider. A community also allows you to be yourself and not have people judge you. It's a very accepting place.

Susquehanna doesn't follow the outline of the ideal community. There are plenty of people who don't accept each other, or who care enough to accept anyone. Some of the best places where this occurs in our "community" are within our dining hall.

Are there cliques between students on campus? Newsflash: Of course there are, and we all know it--just take a look in the dining hall around five and six.

Sometimes it feels like high school on this campus. Most people gravitate toward where they feel the most comfortable, and normally hang out with people who have similar backgrounds to theirs.

We don't ever try to get to know the people outside our circle of friends. We are not allowed to because of the difficulty of leaving a clique. If we were to leave, we would be ostracized.

On this campus we don't have cliques, we have divisions of people. These divisions include racial, religious, sexual, political and almost any type of "clique" that there could be.

For such a small campus, one would think that we would be a little more unified, but in fact, we are actually more spread out. We are more spread because people generalize and make prejudgments about each other. People don't give others a chance to learn from one another. People are afraid of what they're unfamiliar with. Why do we come to these conclusions? Cliques give us a false sense of community.

Cliques impose their views on us. They make us change who we are in order to fit in with the norm. This is the reason why we are not as unified on campus as we could be?

Cliques destroy from the inside out.

For those of us who do see this going on, how can we change it? First, people shouldn't fear what they don't understand. You can't judge someone if you don't even know them.

Is this why we stay grounded in what we like? Do we not want to lean into discomfort, or do we just not want to know new people? Or are we afraid of what we don't understand, or worse, will we end up liking what we don't understand? Most people are scared to go outside their circle of friends and get to know other people.

I pose this question: do you really care what people think? If you do, you live your life according to how people view you. Is that a way to live?

We need to stop letting these divisions influence the way we think and how we view other people, because the people you fear or make judgments about could influence you more than you think.

--Ryan Moye '10

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