The recent National Student-Faculty Conference held at the Book-Cadillac hotel here, considered, among other problems, the burning question of extra-curricular activities. The upshot of the discussion was that this phase of the college program demands constant adaptation to the great world of life outside the cameos, so that those activities duplicating communal institutions, such as, the press, art, and music, prevail over the non-vital projects found all too often in the academic sphere.
It is our conviction that this cardinal principle, the adjustment of the college to life, has been ignored in the development of an extra-curricular program at City. We have stoutly defended the cause of extra-scholastic activities in these columns, because we believe that education is not so much a process of absorption of facts and concepts as it is a functioning of the organism in response to stimuli of the social and physical environment. Book-knowledge is but the merest fraction of the learning involved in the integration of the individual to his group. It should be the purpose of any college to prepare the student for social citizenship in the broad expanse beyond its walls. How can it do this except through imitation of social living on a smaller scale in the form of clubs, teams, publications, and governments?
Though we may have seemed highly vitriolic in our condemnation of student apathy, we do not really feel that the student body is, after all, ultimately to blame. It is foolish to belabor the pupil, according to modern pedagogy, for not being interested in the subject-matter. The subject-matter must be vivified and personalized for the pupil. If it is to be of any value to him. Similarly, it is taking an unfair view of Detroit City undergraduates to assert wrong headedness on their side in failing to react to sports, dances, debates, and plays. What we do berate, however, is their lack of the initiative displayed by the students of the University of Wisconsin, not long ago, who petitioned the authorities for a drastic revision of the activities program and got it. . . .
There is only one way out of the gravelike calm into which the Green and Gold ship has meandered. Abolish all dying activities form top to bottom for a semester or two. In the interim, put a student-factual-alumni committee to work to plumb the depths of student opinion, as revealed in comprehensive question-naires, and objective research into the values of certain activities from the standpoint of life-interest, as manifested by percentage of participation and measure of growth of participants in them. Let this committee make an exhaustive study of every field, and upon the basis of such study construct an activities schedule that will sell itself to the students so that their enthusiasm is genuinely aroused. Many will say this is a radical step, unprecedented in the annals of American collages. This, however, is no argument for--inaction. . . . The Detroit Collegian.