A Discussion on Language: The SLU “Safety” Bubble

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A Discussion on Language: The SLU “Safety” Bubble

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This article was anonymously submitted by a slu student in reaction to “SLU “SAFETY BUBBLE”: A MATTER OF PERCEPTION”

 

“This atmosphere is known as the SLU ‘Safety Bubble.’ This safety bubble can be attributed to the diligence of the Department of Public Safety (DPS),” SLU “Safety Bubble”: A Matter of Perception, Klaudia Wachnik (9/4/2019)

What? I thought to myself. I’ve attended SLU for three years. Never once during my time on campus, or my brother’s, have I heard that phrase. The “Safety” Bubble.

If you ask about the “SLU Bubble,” however, you’ll hear quite a different story.

The SLU Bubble is a colloquialism on campus. You’ll hear it used by students, professors and administrators alike. Similar to the “Safety” Bubble, the SLU Bubble refers to the specific set of circumstances that differentiate the campus of SLU from our surrounding community—the differences of which discourage students from venturing into said community around us.

Are these “set of circumstances” really just issues related to safety?  Perhaps. Make no mistake, there’s a reason why my friends and I seldom travel alone past midnight, even when on West Pine.  Saint Louis, like any large city, can be dangerous. I have not written this piece to convince you otherwise.

My concern today is with the way that we code our language, and the ways that we utilize different words to produce different sentiments.

The SLU Bubble has always been a reference of negative connotation. My peers and I have spent countless hours working with students and admininistrators alike, brainstorming ways for us to get more students into the city. The SGA External Affairs Task Force has collaborated with numerous administrative offices across campus to tackle this very issue, attempting to create a bucket list of places to go around the city, a guide to using the metro and even steps to inviting local businesses to form connections with our campus, as with last year’s SLUper Market.

And so, I ask again: Does this really just boil down to safety? I don’t think so. It boils down to the demographic differences between our campus and our surrounding community. The differences in upbringing, wealth and opportunity between the students who attend our University and the community members who do not.

It boils down to the privilege we are willing to admit to.

The SLU Bubble is not a solution to be spread, nor a concept to be celebrated.

It is, and has always been, a challenge to overcome.