This year, I began writing for the Torch mostly as an outlet to talk about sports. I love writing about sports. Taking dives into statistic-breaking success on the field down into its component parts and deciding what really matters. However, none of my sports stories (no matter how hot the take) generated much of a reaction. I cannot say this is true of all the pieces I wrote this year for the Torch. After Trevor Brown and I co-authored the “Why Dr. Joyner’s Influence Shouldn’t Be Honored” piece, we were complimented by even our detractors for starting a conversation on campus. So we have had a conversation … now what?
Within our “conversation,” I think we have overly complicated an issue that is vastly important. Poverty is an issue that is disturbing and has disastrous consequences. This being said, the solutions to this problem are right in our grasp. Poverty is not a pathology or lifestyle. Poverty is quite literally a lack of resources. The solution to a lack of resources is to redistribute resources. Wittenberg, as an institution, is in a position to unilaterally redistribute resources, from the well-paid administrators to the underpaid housekeeping staff. Creating poverty (such as choosing to contract with a company that pays very close to the lowest wage permitted by law) is a failure that cannot ever be ignored. It does not just result in losing ball games, but in hungry children. Applauding those who create poverty facilitates the notion that poverty is inevitable. People do not go hungry because we cannot produce enough food; people go hungry because we do not distribute resources in a just way.
Reflecting on this past year at Wittenberg, I am grateful for all the experiences. I have built lasting friendships and have had tremendous social adventures. I have been lucky to spend my waking hours questioning the human condition and deepening my capacity to think critically. What a gift! Still, I am full of regret knowing that all this — my education which I cherish so much — has been facilitated by the creation of poverty. Some might say it is time to move on from this conversation, but moving on is merely a further exercise of our privilege as students.