By Aynsley Hartney, Business and Promotions Chief
As The Pendulum is gearing up for a successful magazine release, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Dr. Lasser, the Executive Director of the Calhoun Honors College, to get his perspective on the importance of international awareness. As the tide of politics swings like a pendulum, we envision that our semesterly publication gives students the opportunity to gain such awareness through fresh, balanced perspectives and analysis of international affairs.
As students, many of us have come to Clemson to learn not only the skills of the trade we hope to one day pursue but to have the opportunity to grow as people. This includes becoming better citizens, not only of the United States, but of the world. “It is critical for students to be aware of world events because it is no longer cliché to say that the world is interconnected – it’s now a reality,” says Dr. Lasser. For example, I’m sure, like me, you compare gas prices at various stations around Clemson to find the best deal. Sometimes it’s great, other times not so much. There hasn’t been a spike in gas prices in the recent past, but fluctuation in gas prices correlates to events happening 7,500 miles away in the Middle East. Not only do global events affect our daily lives, but they affect our future professional lives as well. Many corporations operate on a global scale, handling affairs from sites all over the world. To be a successful part of such an enterprise requires an awareness of international events and the understanding that events happening in one side of the world impact countries on the other. Additionally, “We are seeing a rise in global issues that can’t be solved by one country alone,” Dr. Lasser comments. Major issues include global warming, refugee crises, and water shortages. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. International cooperation is mandatory for successful solutions to be implemented, and negotiations are only possible when everyone is cognizant of the state of affairs around the world.
In a time when it is easy for people to stay in their bubbles and ignore what’s happening in the world, it seems like a daunting task to broaden your focus internationally. But the hardest part, according to Dr. Lasser, is just to start – “Jump in, and start following things. Then it starts becoming a habit.” Once you form a habit and gain an increased awareness, things begin to fit together, reaffirming the interconnected world cliché. World events don’t happen in a vacuum. Not an expert on the history of Catalonia or the Chinese government? Don’t be afraid to search for background information to better understand current events – you can’t expect to know everything about everything. Lastly comes the struggle of which news sources to follow, who to trust, what’s real? And that’s where The Pendulum can help. We offer internationally-focused content written by students for students, making international affairs very accessible for people wanting to kindle their interest in international affairs. So when the magazines are hot off the press in a matter of weeks, pick up a copy and let us empower you to expand your perspective and set you on a path toward increased global awareness.