Dr. Layton Field
For us seniors majoring in Sociology, Criminal Justice and/or Human Services, the level of violence in our nation and the lack of community is unacceptable.
Our Senior Seminar this spring tasked us with tackling important questions about the Mount community and the world as a whole, but one issue has captivated our attention: gun violence.
At the time of writing this article in 2023, there have been 113 days, and in those 113 days, there have been 199 mass shootings according to Mass Shooting Tracker. Due to the regularity of these events, we as an American population are prone to indifference and assuming that this could never happen where we live. However, the fact is that this violence is happening everywhere. What can we do to change this?
There are both structural and institutional changes that must be addressed, as well as personal changes that we as Mount students can employ. The list of causes is too long to address in a single statement. Therefore, we have identified three areas where the Mount can improve and counteract this troubling trend immediately: community identity, student mental health and campus safety/security.
Regarding the Mount community, there is a lack of true community identity among all students. While we all share in attending the Mount, beyond that our “community” is made up of smaller groups and niches of clubs and interests.
For a cohesive community that embraces all of its members, these many niches and groups need to find a commonality that leaves no one isolated or disenfranchised. To this we say, reach out to other groups/communities that you are not currently affiliated with and get to know new people.
Go to academic, spiritual, AMP and/or athletic events that you would not normally attend. Get involved. Fostering a sense of community at the Mount is key to gaining a sense of identity and achieving inclusion and belonging.
Next, access to mental health resources remains an issue and can be challenging for students who need that help, but mental health support should not end at Counseling Services. Mindful of the positive work they do, Counseling Services do not have the capacity to quickly help all students in need. While this responsibility does fall partly on them, in reality, it also extends to members of the Mount community. We have a responsibility to reach out to those who are suffering in silence and isolation.
Regarding safety and security, Public Safety should work with students to foster a positive relationship based on trust and respect. This involves focusing more on general safety and security, while not over-impeding on gatherings of students outside of AMP-sanctioned events or sporting events. When Public Safety works with students, and not against students, we stand as a more united and protected community.
Finally, what about us students? What can we do? This sobering reality our country faces should serve as a catalyst for us to reflect on what we can do as a Mount Community in response.
We have the ability to make a change, not only on a larger scale as we graduate and move out into the world, but on a local scale here on our campus. We should not walk forward in fear of what is to come but instead look ahead to what we can do to make a difference in the lives of our fellow students and peers, as well as our community as a whole.
Our idea to begin sparking change and building community at the Mount is an Instagram “add yours’’ story. Check out @mountcaritas on Instagram and look at their saved stories to find the “add yours” highlight and share your own picture that captures the spirit of the Mount and the community we aspire to be.
We cannot wait to see what you share, and we hope that those continuing at the Mount next year will further the conversation that we have started.
Signed: SOC 498 Senior Seminar
Sections A, B and C