Popping the Bubble at UD

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Sophomore Luke Pelletier and freshman George Linn engage each other in discussion outside of Braniff. Photo by Patrick Goodman.

The University of Dallas’ Bubble does not exist.

Talk of the so-called UD Bubble often is used to suggest that UD students, despite receiving a superior education, are somehow out of touch with, or are unaware of the world around them.

While aspects of that statement can be true simply due to the geographical closeness of our community, it is often more of an excuse for inaction than it is a fact of life.

Yes, more unites us here at UD than divides us. That alone is a substantial difference between UD and the rest of the world. It does not necessarily follow that we are somehow trapped within our own, separate structure that fosters a sort of naivety.

Our dedication to becoming independent individuals who live their lives according to the truth, earnestness for knowledge, faith and reason is exactly why, if anything, our university is not a bubble.

At UD we accept that our education is not purposed with providing us comfort as we grow, but is meant to prepare us for a life in a world that will certainly not conform to our preconceived notions of what ought to be.

Here, ideas are challenged. Conversations are not dogmatically shut down because they might offend some. Here, we accept that proper thinking and dialogue can lead to uncomfortable situations and internal reflection.

That is a small price to pay to gain some intellectual humility, which is necessary for proper thought.

Humbly accepting that we simply do not know everything and stand to gain from having our own ideas challenged by others frees us from a type of intellectual cowardice that would have us simply accept what we are authoritatively told in order to retain our own, undoubtedly flawed, ideas about the world.

At other universities, safe spaces are a norm and those who espouse ideas that might be considered offensive are often subject to severe punishments.

The most recent example of our community’s willingness to engage in new ideas and mindsets normally far from our consciousness is the renewal of a UD International Day by our Student Government in cooperation with the university.

“[International Day] will be an amazing opportunity for the UD community to come together and celebrate all … cultures, each valid and beautiful,” said junior Senator Katie Groves.

Our UD community is comprised of members who come from diverse cultural backgrounds, bearing varying religious affiliations and possessing remarkably unique and interesting histories.

UD’s growing population of international and minority students is a wonderful occurrence that gives our community a greater perspective regarding the world we inhabit.

During International Day, members of the UD community will be invited to learn about the numerous cultures that are represented here on campus and shall be encouraged to strengthen our common ties.

From Friday, March 29 through Saturday, March 30, International Day will be celebrated with an opening Mass on Friday night followed by a flag walk. The celebration will culminate in a festival on Saturday.

Our increasing diversity on campus is but one example of the ways that we can no longer claim to be hidden within a protective bubble. The fact that our community is becoming so diverse speaks to the universal nature of our pursuit of truth.

All of us stand to gain from greater diversity on campus, whether it be ethnic, religious or intellectual. Without a doubt, this diversity is something worth celebrating to its fullest extent.

Celebrating such a worthy cause to its fullest extent cannot, however, be limited to a festival. The celebration of our diversity in all of its facets in the UD community happens every single time a productive dialogue happens here.

The celebration of our diversity happens every single time one of us accepts that we were wrong about something we had previously held and are then enabled to internalize a greater truth.

Most of all, the celebration of our diversity happens every single time that a member of our community wakes up in the morning, ready for a day of learning, debate and fellowship.

We are a part of the world. No so-called Bubble can change this. Simply because our community generally values the same things and acts in certain ways does not divide us from the rest of our world.

In fact, it is because we generally value truth and humility that UD is precisely the opposite of a bubble.

This place is a battlefield. Places like UD are where the gloves, so-to-speak, are cast off and any idea or topic is fair game for consideration and debate.

UD is no bubble. UD is a dueling arena for ideas, only the best of which can survive.

We live in the world and are an important part of it. What we do here has effects that ripple around our society. We must take responsibility as a part of this world and be more willing to step outside and actively engage in it, instead of offering the excuse that we live in a bubble.

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