Nate Van Dyke

Sticker Culture sticks to College Campuses

The college phenomenon that disappears shortly after

Sticker Culture is a relatively recent trend that has emerged among the younger generation, particularly college students, and it is the tendency of covering nearly everything with stickers. Whether it is a water bottle, a laptop or even a car, it seems like most surfaces of the average college student are decorated with some sort of image or inspiring quote that sets it apart and indicates ownership. In an environment where almost everyone has a Hydroflask and an Apple laptop, stickers are an easy way to individualize and personalize items.

Stickers are an easy way for students to declare what they stand for, what matters to them, and who they are.

Nate Van Dyke

There are a very wide range of stickers available and you can see them represented throughout campus. The range of stickers seems to match the range of intention for them. Some seem to serve as inspirations and reminders with famous quotes or bible verses, while others serve as more of a form of individuality and as a way to stand apart from the crowd. They can even represent ways of life, such as stickers that show off belief systems or hobbies. And finally there are those that seem to serve the purpose of bringing a feeling of nostalgia for owners as well as those around them, such as quotes from Parks And Rec or pictures of favorite characters from The Office. 

No matter the intention, stickers have become part of campus culture and a way for students to relate to one another and to staff. Companies and organizations have begun to offer stickers freely in the hopes of expanding their brand marketing. Even Student Life has been offering stickers for their events in the hopes of enticing more students to them. 

But why is this? What makes stickers so special? I believe that it has to do with individuality and connection. Stickers are an easy way for students to declare what they stand for, what matters to them, and who they are. They serve as a way to connect with people who have shared experiences and to open up conversations with people that don’t. 

Sticker culture seems to be another step in the direction of the overwhelming desire of this generation: to connect and to matter. Just being students indicates that most of us want to make a difference in the world and leave our mark, but even beyond that, we have a desire to be connected to each other in meaningful ways. We have a desire for community. 

And that is what stickers represent: community. They let other people know what communities you are a part of, but they also open doors to those that aren’t a part of those communities. A question about a sticker could be an opening for a person to be pulled into a community, which is an underlying desire of all humans. Humans by nature want to be connected with other humans in meaningful ways, and stickers are one of the ways that we have found out how to do that. 

Too much diversity

Diversity is encouraging reverse racism and sexism in America

Embracing true diversity is important, because this is how we make room for many different perspectives and approaches. This happens best in dialogue about how to improve as members of the human race. Diversity does not just mean race or gender. Diversity refers to pretty much anything that can be different about people, including their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political beliefs, etc.

However, American culture seems to be having difficulty embracing true diversity. True diversity is empowering and encouraging people who need it, but our recent culture seems to instead be pushing to disempower people who haven’t been as discriminated against as others.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that reverse-sexism and reverse-racism are being used in the name of diversity. These terms, for those confused by them, were coined in response to the belief that it is impossible to be sexist against men and racist against white people.

In the spirit of fairness, the belief that racism and sexism cannot happen to a white and male individuals is not openly embraced by the public. However, there are many ways that it is unconsciously encouraged, especially in the college environment.

In conversations about diversity, it is very common for the term “old white men” to be used in a derogatory way. White men are bad, while anything besides white men are good. And, as you can imagine, I often feel attacked as a white man. There are many stereotypes about white people and men that are spread around without question that don’t reflect me at all, but I have to swallow it because nobody believes it is possible to be racist or sexist against white men.

Americans are embracing false diversity by intentionally granting advantages to people with different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and backgrounds.

Americans are embracing false diversity by intentionally granting advantages to people with different ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and backgrounds. This is revealed in things like job interviews and scholarships.

America is trying to counteract the legitimate problems of inequality and, in the process, often overcompensating, This results in unqualified people sometimes being hired, all because that organization needs their token diverse person.

Scholarships are given out unequally to try and pay for past sins, but in reality such a practice is just creating more inequality now. There are scholarships given to specific races, largely excluding whites. Scholarships should either be given out based on merit or they should be given out equally.

I did not get any scholarships to come to FPU beyond the normal merit based scholarships that everyone gets, and I firmly believe that it is largely because I am a white male. The stereotype is that, because I am a white male, everything is handed to me and I have no problems with money. The truth of the matter is that I struggle to pay for college just like people who are different from me, but because of how my race and gender are seen by modern culture, I get fewer scholarships.

To be clear, I am managing. I am working 3 jobs to make ends meet. This article is not so that people will feel bad for me, because I am making it work. But not everyone that is stereotyped as a white male can do the same, and some need more support than is currently being offered.

This discrimination against white people was pretty evident at FPU when we had a visit from WASC, who sent out an email to all of the ethnic (meaning non-white) students of the school to invite them to a forum so that they could hear particularly from students of color.

First, as a white person, I can honestly say that that is very frustrating. If they sent out the same email, but excluding any other color or ethnicity, it would be called racist and discriminatory. It is only because the students being discriminated against are white that nobody is speaking up about it.

Second, the fact that not even one person showed up to the meeting is at least partial evidence of how tired ethnic students are of being the representative of their particular races or ethnicities.

These two points emphasize the result of this over-focus on diversity: ethnic students are tired of being expected to be a representative, and white students are tired of the reverse-racism that is being displayed.

Unfortunately, most current diversity conversation is limited to the topics of race and gender, which limits the potential benefits of embracing true diversity. What is the point of having a truly diverse population if that same population cannot share and converse about their own beliefs? Diversity of thought is just as important, if not more, than diversity of population. It is our thoughts, beliefs, talents, etc. that make us unique, and to me they are much more important than race or gender.

Discrimination of any kind is wrong, whether it is based off of race, gender, sexual orientation, belief or anything else. I, as a white male, hate discrimination and try to fight against it. At the same time, I want it to be acknowledged that white people and men get discriminated against too. Everyone is on the receiving end of discrimination at some time or another, and we need to fight against all types of discrimination.  

True diversity means creating an equal playing field for ALL parties involved, whether they are part of the majority or not, and I believe that this is the diversity we should embrace. FPU needs to do a better job of supporting people based off of their own merit and need, rather than trying to be unequally “diverse” in order to atone for previous mistakes.