February 5, 2009
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There are so many people who complain about the way things are, or should be, but don’t complain to the right people. Have a problem with the way your professor is talking to people in class? You complain to your friends, not the dean. Having a problem with the former vending machines in Maxcy Hall being replaced with park benches? You complain to your roommates instead of submitting a request on Charger Voice. Mad at something that President Obama is thinking of signing into law? You complain in a blog post instead of writing your representatives and senators.
The worst part about this misdirected complaining is that it has always been this way. For as long as I can remember, people all around me complain that things aren’t the way they want. And then they stop right there!
I’m far from perfect, and I certainly do my fair share of complaining to the wrong people. But most of you know that I am pretty good at complaining, especially for positive change. So this week’s editorial is going to be a nice little tutorial for all of you.
Step One: Identify. Figure out exactly what is pissing you off, and put it into words. For me, it’s the replacement of vending machines for park benches in Maxcy. (They didn’t even replace with THREE benches, as there were three vending machines. Psh. Rip-off.)
Step Two: Coordinate. Decide who would be the best person to ultimately complain to. So, in my example, that would be somebody in facilities here at UNH. (Read up, guys!)
Step Three: Vent. Find some friends and peers, and complain to them about it first.
Unfortunately, this is where most of us will stop. (Bitching, bitching, bitching, vent, vent, vent. Okay, what’s the next step?)
Step Four: Get backup and reinforcements. You don’t want to be the only one to be vocal about the problem. Nobody will care if you are. Get some friends to sign a petition, write editorials and letters to the editor at The Charger Bulletin, or find some faculty/staff members here who agree with you. (“Reinforcements have arrived.” Anyone else remember the “Worms” games?)
Step Five: Complain! Come on, we were all born with this amazing talent. Write a letter, fill out a Charger Voice complaint, or make a phone call or office visit! (Charger Voice can be found online at www.ChargerVoice.com.)
Do I think that the vending machines will be replaced in Maxcy Hall? Not really. Park benches are, of course, more aesthetically pleasing. But I can rest easy knowing that I at least filled out a Charger Voice complaint! Maybe in the next few weeks I’ll go a step further and give facilities a call or e-mail. But even if my ultimate goal is a failure, I at least tried. And now, with this handy-dandy Zack’s Complaint Guide, you can too!
If something is bothering you on this campus-anything at all-all you have to do is click the “Post a Concern” link on the left and fill out the form. Our USGA President, Louis Eswood III, will do his job and look into the matter for you. You appointed him for a reason, and he will gladly use his position to better the student body. If you don’t complain, he can’t help you. You need to help yourself first. So make sure you have an idea of what you need, and things will get done. In the words of politician, educator, and author Shirley Chisholm, “you don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” Implement your ideas by complaining about things you disagree with. It’s your right — and prerogative.