On Sept. 13, Tommy Pesavento, a resident of the Old North End, submitted a scathing letter to The Catalyst in which he complained that he is “surrounded by barbaric behavior from students that have no sense of manners and no idea how to live peacefully with other human beings in a close environment.” As a student, I find this to be cause for serious concern.
Mr. Pesavento is not the first community member to express frustration with CC students, but I hope that he will be one of the last. It is time that we as students take responsibility not only for ourselves, but also for the larger community in which we live.
Colorado College’s relationship with the greater Colorado Springs community is tenuous at best. The dominant religious and political beliefs of the area are frequently regarded with contemptuous intolerance, and students often deride community members with the derogatory term “townie” on the rare occasion that they venture outside the comforts of the “CC Bubble.”
These reactions are greatly overwrought. As students at a liberal arts college, we should embrace diversity of thought; ideological disagreement does not, and should not, preclude mutual respect and friendship.
This misunderstanding is not limited to students. The Facebook page “Colorado Springs Memes” frequently pokes fun at CC students, most recently with the memes “one does not simply drive down Cascade and not curse at the suicidal CC students,” and “Brace yourself, know-it-all hippie Colorado College students are coming.” The stereotypes on this page, while certainly exaggerated, have a grain of unfortunate truth to them and are indicative of a broader problem: an absence of respect for the greater community and a lack of awareness of the effects that our actions have.
Living in Colorado Springs, we share a responsibility to be positive members of the community with the locals. We have failed in this role. Frustrations of the locals, ranging from not following traffic laws to stiffing delivery drivers on tips, attest to this fact.
Simple things such as using the crosswalk and waving to the cars that stop on Cascade, giving the driver who delivers pizza a decent tip, and properly disposing of Solo cups take little effort but make a big difference in the larger community’s perception of CC.
As members of the Colorado Springs community, we need to take the frustrations articulated by Mr. Pesavento seriously. We must give real consideration to these complaints and think about how we can better contribute to our community.
It is time for us to accept that our actions have consequences and take accountability for the repercussions. It is irresponsible and disrespectful for us to continue to behave with no consideration for our greater community.
A common student response to Mr. Pesavento’s complaints was echoed in the comment section on the Catalyst website. One student wrote “Mr. Pesavento, You are an idiot. You live in a college town. If you do not wish for drunken college students surrounding your area, then move.” Implicit in this response is a sense of entitlement and an inability to accept responsibility for our actions, neither of which is looked upon favorably by our neighbors.
For all the talk about privilege at CC, it is long overdue that we recognize that we have the privilege to live in Colorado Springs, and that this privilege comes with the responsibility to be positive members of the community. As a college that places so much emphasis on our beautiful location, it is time that we focus more energy on improving our impact on the Colorado Springs community.