Quick, can you list at least three current events? To be more specific, can you list three events that are not so exhausted by the media and do not fall under the category of entertainment news?
If so, give yourself a pat on the shoulder. You are a diligent student, a self-starter, an avid reader and just the kind to take political elections seriously. You are also in the minority.
In an era where information and news updates are easily made accessible, very few take advantage of news websites, apps, radio or even the free print editions of The New York Times in Cafe 1853 to acquire daily global and local news.
The majority of college undergraduate students are fully capable of exercising technological savviness so as to share personal opinions but from whence do these opinions originate? Several students admit to solely scanning their Facebook news feed under “Trending Now” to view the most popular news updates and allow Facebook to decide which news is important enough to read.
After several brief conversations, students of either a philosophy, psychology, business management and even communications background have confessed that they do not regularly keep up with serious daily news and for some, their news sources are the AOL or YahooMail newsfeed.
Nevertheless, all share a sense of guilt for not being more aware of current events in the local and global communities and they attribute this to the lack of time to sit down and critically analyze every news update.
Yet, in another conversation, a couple of students majoring in government and psychology made it clear that not all students depend solely on YahooMail updates, but take a further initiative to better understand the social dialogue that envelops them everyday by applying their technological savviness to downloading news apps and following reporters or reliable news sources on Facebook and Twitter.
Everyday in the classroom students are expected to openly express their opinions, challenge the status quo, incite debate and maintain a stimulating conversation. However, if for the most part students are using their social media outlets to share their latest selfie or ALS ice bucket challenge video, are the millennial students taking full advantage of the digital era for educational purposes?
Granted, some are required by their majors to keep themselves updated, but those that benefit more are the students that read the news daily for personal knowledge. If you are anything like I was, a current international studies and government major, I confess it took sporadic current events quizzes to get me to subscribe and download news apps so that I would frantically scroll through the most important events right before a global issues class.
Yet, following reliable news sources is critical to the average undergraduate student as we change and update software, constitutions, infrastructure, trade agreements, markets, policies and solutions to once incurable diseases.
Think about it. How did you first find out about the recent happenings in Ferguson, MI? How familiar are you with the details of the current event? Will your interest fade when the media ceases to cover the occurrences in Ferguson?
After confessing, measure your passivity and do not allow the decisions and activities of the international studies, economic, government, communications majors to create the world you live in, for as Howard Zinn plainly states, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”