As a child, I had one really special toy. It wasn’t pretty, or the most interesting, but it was special to me. It was a little wooden action figure that I had cobbled together from bits of scrap wood I found in the garage. The joints were pipe cleaners, the face scribbled on in pencil, and the torso a rough bit of scrap wood from some 2×4 that had broken off the house.Yet I treated this toy better than anything else I owned; I would even sleep with it like a teddy bear at times. I had a deep connection with this conglomeration of misfit bits. This object won my affection by being solely of my own creation, a physical item forged by my imagination and labor. Looking back I realize that this is love. Not a romantic love, but a passion for building and creating that burns just as bright.
Olin is the embodiment of this love of building. I chose to come here because I have an incessant need to build. If it’s not building physical structures, its building ideas, concepts, dreams. I am just as happy milling a part as I am discussing the tenets of American legal realism and its applications to our lives today. The driving force behind this passion is the potential to effect change. Projects have a much greater appeal to me if they have can benefit others. Olin to me was the sum of all these things, and more.
Hopefully you also chose Olin because it offered an opportunity no other college in the world does: the chance to build classes, to build a school, to build a brighter future. That’s Olin’s vision and the Olin community, faculty, staff, students and all are taking part in this race. We as students have the greatest strength, both in numbers and time, but we are far from the driving force at Olin. That needs to change. The path ahead is neither easy nor short, but it only gets easier with more people pushing forward.
We are all part of something momentous, especially now as we enter the tween years of Olin. Olin will undergo some awkward times as it tries to fill its growing role in the world, but just as we grew into our gangly arms and lost that “baby fat”, Olin also has the potential to blossom into a mature institution leading the charge in shaping the future. We are pioneers in a new land, working together to clear a path that others cannot or will not do.
Fight for her, this beautiful place and hold on to this opportunity. Look around you and see what needs doing, then proceed to do it. From repairing services like HALP to rewriting the Honor Code, there is something for everyone, and enough to keep you more than busy. This chance to effect so much change is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don’t waste it. Do something.