Provo may be within a bubble, but it isn’t within the BYU fortress.
The overused metaphor of BYU’s mystical bubble is something every BYU student understands and accepts. We attend an inherently different type of university, where caffeine looms larger than alcohol7, and where Mormonism is a cool thing to do.
But BYU students losing grip on reality is completely avoidable. There is a different world that exists all around campus, a world that sees normal people working and struggling through normal challenges.
How many BYU students have attended a Provo city council meeting, or have looked into different Provo city programs? How many people have been to the Covey Center for the Arts? Some BYU students go to Peaks Ice Arena and maybe some parks, but beyond that, how is BYU reaching out to its community? Provo may be boring, but whose fault is that? Shouldn’t the students, the young, innovative students have a heavy hand in Provo’s recreational progression?
The University of San Francisco proclaims openly that “our community is our campus.” Integration into the surrounding community through service and other activities isn’t just extracurricular; its part of their education. It is unfair to say that the BYU community is entirely apathetic towards their surrounding community, but that area of concern certainly isn’t a priority.
I once attended an on-campus event where the mayor of Provo was having a Q-and-A session for BYU students about how the city could be improved. There were about ten of us there. A recent visit from the mayor covered by 11 News didn’t appear to be much better. But thousands complain about how Provo is boring.
See how awful the attendance is when the mayor comes:
Some BYU students may be completely oblivious to the world that sits next door to them. Meshing of the two worlds will prove beneficial to both sides, as BYU students offer their time to the community, and the community teaches us about real life.