Business as Usual
After receiving the unofficial election results, members of the Incumbent Coalition skipped towards the elevators congratulating themselves on their previously uncontested victory. Stopping momentarily on the way to attend their wine tasting social, they stuck their hands into the guts of the opposition to thank the New Baruch Alliance for their “good fight.” It was clear they had a plane to catch whose destination was most assuredly – business as usual.
In the mostly male-dominated world of business, it would seem par for the course that this fraternity “Ra-Ra!” mentality could contradict the efforts of the opposing side. That a “good fight” meant nothing of the sort and an air of “I told you so” was projected with an enthusiastic conceit. But as the boys leap frogged their way up to the awaiting socielites, two females of the Incumbent Coalition took time to express their sincere appreciation for the work of the members of the New Baruch Alliance. It’s clear that however long it takes times to change, they change incrementally faster than mentalities follow suit.
Still, what wasn’t lost in the fervor of the moment was the message. As the School of Public Affairs and Weissman School of Arts and Sciences grows in graduate student population, their presence and reputation are becoming more and more influential. These students are going to seek positions and more representation in our governing graduate boards. The best remedy to this perceived threat would be to act respectfully to the concerns of these graduate students whose student activities fees and former complaisancy are used to fund the overreaching demands of a shrinking Goliath.
As the beloved son of a father, with two PhDs in business, education and accounting, I was guided to seek a career in Public Affairs and Nonprofit Administration. My father, who exceled in spreadsheets and forensic accounting theory, was on the surface a complete juxtaposition to my bourgeoning sociological perspectives on political frameworks and cultural anthropology. This man whom I hated to love for over two decades, whose bottom-line attitude conflicted with my intrinsic social consciousness, became the strongest influence for me to obtain my masters and to pursue my achievable passions at Baruch College.
I had the unique opportunity to speak with a representative of the Incumbent Coalition for the first time since our campaign had begun months prior. She confided in me that there does need to be more equal representation in the Graduate Student Assembly. We sat next to each other at the same table, these once apparently ferocious rivals, talking about the things that make us who we are as two stacks of fliers touting polar platforms lay untouched for the next half hour. Taking the time to finally meet with open hearts and open minds, we spoke about our lives, our passions and our own plans for the future.
The most important lesson, I think we both learned during our time in the sandbox, was that the once definitive lines between business and social enterprise are becoming increasingly intertwined. The old definitions and ways of maximizing “profits” are taking on a whole new meaning globally than most of us think to give credence to. Traditional perspectives on the value of the dollar are slowly being uprooted to reveal an underlying plethora of benefits that have been hiding from us for centuries. Our limiting desires to calculate and annotate ideas of “worth” have been given too many opportunities to infiltrate the human psyche and the way we interact with one another in our everyday experiences. Thus, business is now being rediscovered as something more than just a race to the finish line or a means to an end. It’s a series of human interactions that require careful attention to the process of exchange rather than focusing on the hoarding of scarce resources.
But business as usual is not what we’re after any longer. There are movements occurring throughout the world that are successfully increasing awareness as to the importance of educating and training socially conscious businesspeople to compete in and create the workforce of today and tomorrow. Whether one likes it or not, the world is not as flat or as small as we once thought it to be. Political and religious wars are being fought every day and the archaic systems that bound our feet and kept us silent for eons are now crumbling before us giving us pause for real, considerable thought. There is an incredible amount of diversity on this campus and if we are not careful to harness our energies in a way that allows us to think WITH our hearts and our minds, then we will most assuredly fall victim to the eruption of continuing events occurring throughout our changing landscape.
It is my belief and the belief of the members of the New Baruch Alliance, that we must not only build bridges across graduate party lines, but also learn how to walk across them together successfully. This unfortunately takes time to master and requires reflection and introspection, but any good fight needs great players willing to work as a team. Eventually we won’t have to fight any longer for our voices to be heard, for our feelings to be recognized, or our ideas to be considered. We will understand the value of the dollar does not represent the human need for validation and acceptance and we will know that the only scarce resources imaginable are the ones locked inside our minds aching to be set free.