A microcosm is a situation that encompasses the characteristics of something much larger, but on a mini scale.
So living on a college campus, I can’t help but think about the structure of our university, especially student life, as a mini version of the larger “real world” that seems to linger outside of the Lunsford. It’s an “ACU microcosm.”
I emphasis student life because it seems to correlate with the elements that contribute to a citizen’s life. Communities consist largely of businesses, organizations, religious and ethnic groups all with varying, and sometimes opposing, views and agendas. The ACU community is no different.
Just this week we elected representatives to the Students’ Association”” the equivalent to our local government. As students, a portion of our tuition is given to SA, which is intended to be given back to us in the ways that they serve us. On the large scale, taxpayers disagree with how that money is spent. On the ACU scale, if you’ve ever attended the SA budget meeting, you would know that a lot of our students feel the same way.
We have small businesses. For many years, we’ve had students from the Intro to Business class selling t-shirts and sunglasses in the campus center. But this year COBA has taken it a step further with Wildcat Ventures, the student-run business that is the parent to several other companies on campus.
We have sports. Although, I think a difference between ACU and the real world is that professional athletes aren’t likely to show up at the same restaurant as you, but it is very likely that you’ll run into the football team in the Bean or sit next to the starting point guard in Chapel. Nonetheless, we root for our home team just the same.
We have a local media outlet, the Optimist. And like many newsrooms, it is trying to inform and hold community figures accountable. But also like many newsrooms, it often gives attention to the stories that are more exciting and sometimes lets the stories that need attention slip by unnoticed.
We have social clubs. Just like all the rotary clubs, ladies’ book clubs and masonic lodges, we have created exclusive groups for the purpose of socializing, fraternizing and occasionally performing community service. Just as local Lions clubs wear funny hats and say secret chants, ours wear colored uniforms and exchange secret handshakes.
We even have those random landmarks or odd activities that the whole community knows about but no one particularly is responsible for. The real world example may be a random statue in town that gets painted red every year. In our case, it’s putting bubbles in the GATA fountain or throwing fruit at the drain pipe between Mabee and the library.
I know that eventually I’ll have to graduate and participate in the large scale community. But the ACU microcosm is fun to think about and a good practice round before I have to start paying taxes.