Letter to the Editor: Student Wishes For More Inclusive Campus

Dear Editor,

I’m a reclusive, commuting sophomore who’s into the subgenres of metal and alternative music. I don’t spend a lot of time on campus because I feel unrelated to other students and no sponsored events seem to be relevant to my interests. However, I want to give a shout out to Mike Liberto and anyone else involved in bringing Hellogoodbye to campus last Friday.

I didn’t think that the band was well known (I only know their single “Here In Your Arms”), so I was pleasantly shocked with the turn out of the crowd. I’m usually vocal about my various experiences of concerts full of mosh pits and lifting crowd surfers, but it was relaxing to be surrounded by people obviously ecstatic about being within 20 feet of a live performing band yet also respected personal space. Everyone was beaming, and for a few hours it was easy to forget the earthly troubles and tornado warning to simply just exist together.

That forgetful bliss of concerts is the feeling I constantly yearn for. It’s easy for everyone to say they like music, but it takes on another level when it numbs mental illnesses and unites listeners as a semblance of a home. I’m such a concert junkie because being in pits is the only place that feels right. I’ve been to roughly 30 shows within the past four years, which may sound like a lot, but that’s really only 30 nights out of 1,460 days I didn’t feel judged, but was united and whole, communally joined to whoever was next to me in a mosh pit because it was the one place where everyone supported each other. Maybe the rarity of that feeling enhances all my concert experiences, but it inadvertently leads to a painful existence of feeling like a freak, isolated from most of my peers because of our outrageous differences.

Diversity is all well and good, but I don’t think campus practices what it preaches. I know some of my alienation is self imposed, but campus lacks clubs and activities that play on my musical interests and I further fold inwardly upon myself. There’s a disconnection between my happiness and Washington’s social environment, and it’s played a huge factor in my decision to transfer after this semester. Maybe it’s easiest to write me off as an oddity and ignore my transferring, but I truly do fear for any prospective student like me because this exiled feeling is not easy to live with. College should allow individuals to explore themselves and expressions, but I feel shut down on campus without that opportunity here.

However, after this weekend, I am proud to now expand my concert repertoire to include Hellogoodbye, with their delightful indie sound and cute stage antics. But I’m prouder to say that Washington College booked a small alternative band, had an enthused crowd, and I felt home again.

Katie Braune ‘15

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