Page 13 Cartoons

The greatest campus publications you aren’t reading

January 22, 2009

When was the last time you read a campus journal, or even considered reading one? Probably not recently. Unfortunately, the state of academic journals at Georgetown is weak and stagnant. Even more disheartening, this dearth of academic journals is indicative of deeper campus issues.
We live in a frenetic campus environment. The high-achieving, active, pressure-ridden lifestyles we led in high school have simply bled into our collegiate years, and our location in the always hectic District of Columbia adds an extra dose of kinetic energy. New technological innovations continue to push us towards shorter attention spans and the incessant utilization of Facebook, Twitter, and 24-hour online news sites. We glean information in sound-bytes and blurbs instead of through more thorough, developed examinations of issues.
As students we are generally focused on “doing,” as we try to balance the exigencies of life, but we should really do more thinking. Most Georgetown students want to change the world for the better. But if we are going to make lasting change, we must first improve ourselves and our own minds. Consider the mantra of the John Carroll Fellows Initiative: “The life of the mind for the life of the world.”
College is a convenient time to think about life’s important questions. As students at a high-caliber research university, we exist in a particularly rarefied environment full of fertile minds, belonging to both professors to students, that can produce fruitful conversations, whether written or verbal. These conversations are marked not by an eagerness to pontificate, but by a willingness to engage in a respectful conversation between peers, pushing each other towards the uncovering of truth. These are the types of rich conversations that make life meaningful. As Proverbs 27:17 reads, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Concern over many of these issues led me to co-found Utraque Unum, a journal of the Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy. It seeks to be a  medium for the dissemination of ideas and debate about issues regarding America, Western Civilization, faith, and our alma mater. We seek to combat anti-intellectualism and bridge the gap between academic life inside the classroom and intellectual engagement outside of it. The motto of our publication reflects this goal—Utraque Unum means “both one.”
You may think that you have nothing to add to the conversation. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The first tenet of a liberal education is to seek the truth, but all too often we treat our educational careers here at Georgetown as if we were checking off a list of requirements. In the words of William Butler Yeats, “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.”
So the next time you see a copy of Utraque Unum, The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, The Georgetown College Journal, Mentis Vita, or any other journal on campus, please pick it up and read. Slow down. Life is short. No one on their deathbed ever says, “I wish I would have worked more.” Really read, really think, and really write. Do not fill the bucket. Stoke the fire.

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Eric Wind

Let me just say that in the original piece I said that college is a significant time to study life’s important questions. It is more than simply “convenient.” That word was placed by the editor without my approval.

Check out to read Utraque Unum. Thank you!