Finding your place in the Brooking community

ALEX BOGER Columnist

This academic year marks my sixth year living in Brookings. But for most of my undergraduate degree, I thought Brookings was a boring place to live. 

When people asked what there was to do in Brookings, I gave the same answer most people in Brookings give: “Bowling … uh … a movie, I guess? Drink?” 

The real issue students have in Brookings is that they don’t consider themselves part of the Brookings community. 

They see a divide between community members and students. They don’t try to become a part of community groups. 

My last two years in Brookings have been an entirely different story than my first four. 

I found groups in the community that interest me. 

I found a bicycling nonprofit called Bicycle House (unfortunately on hiatus right now) where I learned skills necessary for bicycle repair and maintenance. Finding this nonprofit helped me realize my engagement with Brookings had been surface level for far too long. 

Helping at Bicycle House got me interested in many new things. I attended city council meetings to advocate for better bike lanes in Brookings. I started supporting local artists and interacting with local rights groups.

Why don’t students usually engage in community activities? 

For their first two years, students are stuck on campus. Campus feels like an insulating blanket. Food is here, the campus puts on some activities, you can even go to the gym — why leave? 

In order to help students engage in the community, we need to expand our efforts. 

We need to more actively promote our community engagement festivals, getting more than just banks and student organizations to come. 

Most importantly, students need to act. 

When students show interest in areas outside of college, it gives community members a chance to see the future of America. 

It lets them see that not all students just want to party and make a lot of noise.

So do something outside of your comfort zone. 

Take a dance class from community education. Join a political debate group. Start playing Dungeons and Dragons at the local game shop. Join a book club. 

Make Brookings the community you want to live in rather than just complaining about what it isn’t.

Alex Boger is an agriculture & biosystems engineering graduate student at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]