April 13, 2004

Remember the Lectures

In the course of this week, the University of Chicago has greeted one of the most important names in American entertainment, Sherry Lansing, and will greet one of the most important names in defense policy, Under Secretary Douglas Feith. In life, opportunities to interact closely with people of such prominence are few and far between, but the University of Chicago's national prominence and dedication to academic discourse is one that allows for and encourages such activities regularly.

While we are here as students, we get the rare chance of listening to, asking questions of, and interacting with those who are most influential in the fields that we admire and in the professions that shape our world. But many of us do not take advantage of these opportunities, and once we leave the University, these free lectures and discussions will be much harder to come by.

An even greater opportunity we have here is the chance to bring these people to campus ourselves, rather than have them brought in by someone else. Through the extracurricular student organizations that many of us participate in, we can often persuade prominent figures to come speak at the University¬óthe recruiting process is just as valuable as the lecture itself.

We are all extremely busy with school work and various other responsibilities, but we can take advantage of lectures and panels without letting it consume our time. If we only attended one out of every three lectures that interest us, the gain would still be substantial. It is important to take advantage of these opportunities while they are available, because they won't always be. When is the next time you'll get to meet an under secretary and a celebrity in the same week?