A kind call to action for Bradley students

We hear it all the time: “don’t go down the hill” or “don’t walk alone.” We even read about the profiles of the people who are trying to mug people on campus.
It seems like Bradley’s student population is being set up to have a racially charged attitude about its surroundings.
Things happen, and we can’t change them. What we can do, however, is not hide from the reality of the surrounding world. What I’m calling Bradley students to do is to go out and befriend your non-student neighbor.
When I moved into my off-campus house this summer, I was told of speculations about one of my residential neighbors that would leave any white suburbanite just a tad bit nervous. However, when my roommates and I heard drums and poetry coming from the neighbors’ porch, we decided to go and join them.
It turned out to be a completely worthwhile experience, as they are some of the kindest and most interesting people I have met in Peoria yet. We participated in a drum circle with them and can now say we’ve gained two new friends, so clearly you can understand my sentiment.
I’m not asking for students to walk down the street banging on every door and asking for friendship; that would make you look psychotic. Instead, say “hi” to your neighbors, or find some common ground that you can both talk about.
In the end, it’s better to know your surroundings. It will make you look like less of a temporary resident and more like a person who cares about their community. After all, if you live off-campus, you’re going to be here for almost a year or more of your life; it’s best to engage as much as you can.

–Kristin DiMaggio
Junior journalsim major