Any attention garnered by the USG-initiated campaign on mental health quickly dissipated and its events were marked by low attendance. Though a USG survey reported that 35.3 percent of Princeton students develop and experience mental health issues while in college, the discussion of mental health — climaxing with a lecture by Dr. Oz — was allowed to dissipate. The USG successfully drew attention to the issue but only temporarily. The Counseling and Psychological Services Office, while certainly offering valuable one-on-one services to the Princeton community, doesn’t reach out enough to create and further a dialogue surrounding these issues.
Similar discussions arose during Women’s Week and with SHARE’s biannual productions. While both groups introduce highly relevant and applicable issues to the campus dialogue, the conversation tapers off soon after these events. Groups that bring to light certain issues affecting students on campus must not only introduce the issue but also ensure that it remains a part of the campus dialogue as a way to bring about necessary reform and lasting awareness. This effect can only come from the tenacity of the groups initiating these causes.
The dialogue created during these weeks, though, could have stagnated had it not been for the continuous push of the LGBT Center to continue the campus dialogue with a regular sequence of events by hosting and sponsoring a plethora of events, lectures and discussions on LGBT-related issues throughout the year. We commend these attempts and believe that other student groups should adopt this model, while being mindful of “attention capital.”
By concentrating the highly relevant dialogues to specific weeks and events, we increase the likelihood that these issues will only be temporarily acknowledged. Campus organizations cannot lay dormant after completing an event or series of events but must become more willing to continue to impact campus discourse. Our campus dialogue would be enhanced and more effective in creating change if campus organizations continually, rather than selectively, promoted awareness and reform on particular issues.