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Mills community needs strengthening

It is time we addressed the utter lack of community on the Mills campus, which becomes painfully obvious on the weekends. I am heavily involved in several clubs and organizations, including the ASMC. I figured that I didn’t have much of an excuse to complain about campus issues if I wasn’t going to be involved in changing them. Nonetheless, I feel completely impotent in finding any sort of solution to the boredom felt by many students and myself. Many of us put a great deal of energy and creativity into community events, only to have these events suffer from under-attendance. I’ve found that it’s not the result of a lazy and disinterested student body, but rather a feeling of aloofness regarding anything to do with Mills. And why shouldn’t we feel this way? We are isolated from the activities of the larger Oakland area and other colleges, our transit system is the most unreliable it has been in years, and most of the excitement of the Bay Area is in other parts of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, making off-campus living situations all the more alluring. Personally, I have been making more trips to Cal, plan on cross-registering, and am trying to make more friends off campus, but most weekends I find myself driving two hours home just to find some sort of socialization. While it is important to note that many students spend their time off Mills in an effort to serve their communities, there still needs to be cooperation between all levels at Mills to improve this void of campus culture. I came to Mills in part because I believed there existed a thriving student community, and frankly, I feel lied to. If I could transfer, I would. My suggestion is to build a Mills identity that we can rally around. Events like community dinners, the WLI and ICL’s Civic Engagement Celebration, movies on Toyon, and dances are all fantastic examples of how to find common ground. It would be even better if community dinners could be more frequent and extended to all Mills students, commuters included, and perhaps even a few of them could be formal events, a tradition popular at many schools. Mixers sponsored by the Office of Student Organizations could be more personable and effective than Block Party. The solutions are out there and we need to find them.