When we actively disengage our leadership and leave the future of our groups to little more than a roll of the dice, those "if's" become "intentional failures" (IFs) because the house always wins. If you play long enough, the house takes you down.
As calendar pages fall to the ground on campuses throughout the country, the bitter cold and stiff winter winds have relented into more forgiving, more gentle spring breezes.
So too, the claims of rampant and systemic alcohol abuse, hazing, homophobia, racism, and sexual assault have become more tepid as the school year winds down, and the call for fundamental change that seemed so desperate now seems as though it will slip into the rhetorical abyss of "awareness" and starting a conversation.
We don't need yet another meeting. We need to put shovels in the ground and get to work.
Since the first National Hazing Prevention Week in 2005, individuals, campuses, and organizations have been amping up their awareness campaigns in an effort to bring the conversation about hazing out of the darkness and into the daylight.
For at least one week, "Mission: Accomplished."
But what, really, has changed?
A note from The Power Button: The below video is a fantastic illustration of the concepts of the 3D (Direct, Delegate, Distract) model for bystander intervention, which we discussed in The Speed of One: 4th of 6 Heroic Arts. The Office of Campus Life also has some tremendous resources via http://www.american.edu/ocl/stepup/index.cfm You can make a big difference in the lives of others and change your world. Here's one way to do it.
From YouTube: Step Up is an award-winning bystander intervention program, adopted by American University, that uses five steps to teach students how to intervene in situations including sexual assault, alcohol abuse, mental health emergencies, hazing, and more. Step Up. Be More Than A Bystander.
This film has been created by the Office of University Communications and Marketing and the Office of Campus Life.
In my opinion, these meetings are not that different from our online personas. Oftentimes, we can choose not to show content from people we disagree with, even without unfollowing or unfriending them, ensuring we do not have to acknowledge the disagreement, and thereby disrupt the herd.
But what does it say about us when we choose not to engage on those issues that we care about, because we do not want to cause a scene or make the meeting last any longer.