Editorial: No Time for Apathy

In a Time of Massive Changes, Don’t Stay on the Sidelines

This weekend, Université de Montréal celebrated the opening of their brand new science pavillion in Park Extension.

But, the new facility wasn’t met with universal acclaim, as protesters interrupted the proceedings.

Why? With the construction of this new building came the classic symptoms of gentrification in the historically diverse and low-income neighbourhood. This includes increased rent prices and the construction of luxury condos. The same happened in the neighbourhoods around Concordia like the Shaughnessy Village and Little Burgundy.

When asked about this, some students believed the school and its students are not to blame—and some weren’t even aware of what’s happening in the neighbourhood. Two students said that even if they were informed, they didn’t think students would care.

This is deeply representative of a culture of apathy adopted by students on campuses across the country, ours included. But this apathy is deeply harmful.

It’s not enough to simply enroll, show up to class, and leave with your degree when your time at university ends. When attending an institution like Concordia, you become a member of a community—one that has a city-wide impact. Your actions and your opinions can make changes happen in your community and, in turn, in your city and the people in it.

This is why it’s so important to inform yourself on what is happening all around you, so that you can react and act, create change, and make a difference in your community, especially politically.

Our options are limited in who we give power to, and they’re not all great choices, but that shouldn’t mean you don’t make a choice. Choosing to abstain is still a choice, and an ineffective one at that, especially if done because you just don’t care.

It’s also important to support your community. Despite the millions of times we’ve been told to shop local, or support small businesses, we see that doesn’t stop the ever increasing gentrification of neighbourhoods. Smaller local businesses that have defined neighbourhoods are now closing, faced with sky-high rents. But, more and more people are mobilizing against the gentrification of their neighbourhood. They’re making a difference for those around them.

At the very least, you can start paying attention to the issues facing your local community, the country you live in, and even the world. Yes, it can get scary and overwhelming, but willful ignorance isn’t going to help anyone in the long run.

Apathy is not cool. Apathy is not edgy. Just because some things don’t affect you personally, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about them.

Apathy is not some new wave of wokeness that puts you above people trying to save the planet from a catastrophic and—if nothing is done—inevitable collapse, either. Yes, the Amazon is wasting away, the air in Indonesia is bright red, and learning how to swim will soon become compulsory.

But, it’s not over just yet. We still have a small window of time to do something, but we have to care now, not wait for a solution to fall out of the sky. We could have the power to change things, but if we don’t, it’ll be in large part due to our apathy.