In a Duke Rival article outlining recent events at the University of Missouri, a provocative final thought caught my attention. “This [case] begs the fundamental question we must ask ourselves: What do I expect from my University? If my University is not meeting my expectations, what changes must occur?”

The boycott by the University of Missouri’s varsity football team demonstrated tangible, effective impact: the resignation of then-President of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe. In our world, it’s easy to feel that endless problems exist with few immediate solutions, so this feels like an encouraging victory in an uphill battle. Such a triumph marks a landmark that can accelerate momentum and set a precedent for other students to act.

When reading an article for a public policy assignment yesterday, I came across the sentences, “Another important insight from behavioral economics is default bias—what most of us might simply call laziness or inertia. Default bias suggests that people are much more likely to stick with the status quo than what we might expect given the benefits of switching to another option.” This concept may be obvious, but it holds true in nearly every facet of life, particularly regarding social issues at Duke. Currently for many students, the default is inaction. We need to change that default bias. We have intentions, but we do not always act on them.

The disturbing homophobic and racist events that have occurred on campus have pushed me to think more deeply. What would I do, right now, if I had the power and impact of those football players? What would we demand as a student body? What can we change and what would we change? I posed these questions to some friends and received responses ranging from administrative issues to cultural nuances.

Sophomore Jessie Petrow-Cohen said she feels the administration puts on a public relations show in regards to caring about the scandals that occur. “There is no sense of urgency over the fact that some students feel unsafe here. As long as the administration can turn it around to say, ‘But look at the strength of the Duke community supporting the people who were hurt,’ that’s enough for them. Yet we still don’t see any policy change. A boy’s life was directly threatened, but mandatory sensitivity training to sexuality and gender issues still doesn’t exist. Instead, an email was sent saying, ‘Look how much Duke cares!’”

When asked about a small-scale issue that could be easily addressed, sophomore Dylan Gambardella cited the dangerous robberies that have already occurred twice this semester on Central Campus. “Students feel uneasy when walking around, especially late at night. Knowing security cameras exist would at least reassure residents, as such systems dissuade potential crime.” Certainly Duke’s massive $2.3 billion 2015-2016 budget would allow for these small concessions, which could immediately make on-campus residences safer.

Sophomore Amanda Gavcovich cited the way Duke students engage in conversations about race. “We aren’t having effective conversations. People get angry and feel victimized (rightfully so), but this hurts their effectiveness. The Brodhead conversation is noble, but why don’t we bring in professionals on race that could add to the discourse? There’s so many here on campus. It also troubles me that saying or publishing these types of thoughts, which don’t sound so radical to me, could result in major backlash. Our conversations are stifled right now. People are afraid to engage, and there are people who want to learn but don’t know how to participate without inadvertently offending others.”

Sophomore Hope Arcuri pinpointed a societal trend she feels undermines Duke culture. “People prioritize school so much that they don’t take care of themselves or others. We don’t give 100 percent to anything; instead, we offer 70 percent to too many things. Relationships are placed on the back burner, and as a result, we don’t show people our authentic selves. We don’t prioritize other people within relationships so we’re afraid to share our difficulties, which prevents us from truly connecting with those around us.”

Sophomore Callie Fry dislikes how we expect the administration to issue top-down instruction about how to behave regarding culturally sensitive issues. Examples she cited include how to dress on Halloween and the gendered Greek power imbalance that can be associated with sexual assaults. “While repeated episodes of oppression merit a top-down plan to ensure that threats, racial slurs or assaults don’t happen again, it’s not just the administration’s duty to dictate how students should behave. This change also must come from within the student body and the culture we create. The administration is only as effective and knowledgeable as the students they represent.”

Before we can translate intent to action, we must define what we care about. The diverse opinions expressed here demonstrate that, no matter what that is, it’s important to care about something. It is difficult to make the leap from intangible to tangible when it comes to addressing problems. Change takes time and momentum is essential. When small injustices are remedied, people grow confident they can attack larger ones. Perhaps I am an idealist, but I hope one day the default will be to act on these desires rather than to remain compliant with the status quo.

Elie Wiesel once said the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference. I refuse to believe that Duke students are apathetic. The responses I solicited emanated from a small subset of voices among Duke’s undergraduate population. There is a huge force of energy here to be channeled. “Our student body doesn’t realize how much power and influence we have on this school,” Amanda said. “We think it’s hard to change the university, and it is, but we forget the capacity we have for change. The school relies on us for donations in the future. If we aren’t happy, future Duke won’t be happy when we don’t donate.”

It is essential to ask ourselves every day what we care about, what we would change and what we are willing to fight for. I don’t have the answers; I am simply daring everyone to think a bit harder. We all so fervently want to leave our marks upon our respective fields when we leave Duke, but I challenge us to contemplate the power we possess right now and how to use it in order to leave a lasting mark on this community.

Carly Stern is a Trinity sophomore. Her column usually runs on alternate Fridays.