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Finding inspiration at COW

“How do you like Wooster?” “How does Wooster change you?” When I think back about myself first year, I am honestly surprised by how much I have changed mentally. I used to immerse myself in my own zone, care only about my life and was indifferent about any global issues. A big change Wooster gave me is that the education I received here and the influence from the entire Wooster community shaped my ideology of being a “global citizen” as well as the realization of my social responsibility. I started to be more concerned about global issues, although they might not directly affect me. I began to care more about social justice, racism, sexism and LGBT groups, etc.

At the beginning, I easily felt powerless and unsafe. A lot of my frustrations come from seeing so many disasters and so much misery and unfairness. With the darkness exposed in front of my eyes, I could do nothing but feel insecure. Besides, with my identity as an international student, being far from home and being foreign make the sensation of feeling unsafe a little stronger. Recently, the hurricane in Puerto Rico and shooting in Las Vegas got a lot of public attention. Receiving many messages and phone calls from my family and friends back home asking me about the Las Vegas disaster, I heard their concerns of my safety specifically regarding the legalization of weapons.

However, there are ways to transform sorrows into actions: by making changes in broader social contexts. My first try was participating in a silent protest last year against the harassment of those with different political opinions. Coming from somewhere where protest is strictly prohibited because of different political structures, it was a life-changing experience for me. I used to be diffident about fighting for justice. But since then, I gradually realized how closely I can connect with the world and how I can actually make a change with seemingly faint efforts. Instead of pursuing mere materialism, contributing to efforts to erase darkness became a more meaningful life goal.

Within the Wooster community, there are so many insightful people and supportive faculty and staff. They often encourage me. In an environmental class last semester, we learned the issue of the Northern Cheyenne tribe located in southeast Montana. They face an ongoing threat of the coal industry destroying their land. They were facing a legal battle, as federal lands can be leased to coal companies. The action one of my classmates took was setting up a fund to help them with resources to preserve their culture.

There are many more peers in Wooster making changes to a broader social context through actions against DACA, Take a Knee and many more. They constantly inspire me to: never feel isolated and never look down on yourself about how much you can do to make the world a better place!

Shuwen Pang, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at SPang18@wooster.edu

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