Usually, Homecoming Week passes by before undergraduates give it a second thought. The events aren’t for us—we’re already home. The ones who do think about it might say it’s pointless or that it’s just another way for the alumni association to make money. However, homecoming should have a bigger impact on the consciences of undergraduates than anyone else.
This year, the University of Arizona welcomes back the class of 1968 for their 50 year reunion. It must be so exciting for these graduates to relive some of their favorite memories, see how things are the same, and how others have changed (I mean, in 1968, construction hadn’t even begun on McKale Memorial Center!) Homecoming is also a time for them to see where their lives had taken them, through their families, careers, and different small and large ways they have changed the world.
However, their fifty years have passed. Everything they are remembering now is done and cannot be changed. Our fifty years haven’t started yet. We can decide what our lives will look like and what stories we’ll tell when we reconvene around 2070.
That number scares me a lot. But, it’s probably no more daunting to us than 2018 was for twenty-year-olds in 1968.
If we think about 2070 now, we can start trying to envision the world we want to see. Of course, we can’t predict new developments and new technologies--how many in 1968 would have guessed they would have a computer in their pockets by their 50 year reunion?
Our hopes can still be constructive, though. I can hope, in 2070, to live in a country that is less divided among people who care about educating their youth. I want to live in a world that is already well into reversing the effects of climate change and where the Southwest has guaranteed water for generations to come. I want to see a world that spends less time running and more time living and laughing together; a world where people get to know their neighbors.
And teleportation would be cool too.
When I come back in 2070, I want to see a world in better shape than where I found it. I don’t want to see the younger generations burdened with more uncertainty and instability than I inherited.
None of us individually can do too much to change the state of the world. However, an entire campus and an entire country thinking ahead to its 50 year reunion can change so much.
Instead of letting homecoming pass you by this year, imagine, even for only a few minutes, what you want to be thinking about when you walk around campus in 2070. Start intentionally aiming for it. Now is not too early; I can imagine that most of the homecomers can attest that 50 years will pass by before we know it.
Toni Marcheva hopes to impact the world, one student at a time, as a professor of Economics. Follow Toni on Twitter