Tonight, I engaged in a whirlwind blitz to prevent demolition of the old Anthropology Building here at Tulane. I think some good came of it, and I think more may come of it down the road.
I spoke at the site with a reporter from the Tulane Hullabaloo who's writing a piece on the issue. I also spoke before the Associated Student Body, the joint student government body of somewhere over 75 members, on a resolution opposing the demolition.
After fielding a host of questions from the floor, I was happy to watch as the body passed the resolution after amending the operative language slightly to temper the rhetoric a bit (but still opposing demolition) and emphasize a need to obtain additional information from the administration. All in all, a good result - thanks to George W from the law school and body president Tim Clinton for being responsive and taking the issue seriously.
As someone who generally dislikes excessive interference with a property owner's rights to use his or her property, I find that those views tend to make me a rather subjective historic preservationist. I felt this was an instance where, as part of Tulane, I would take a stand becuase I help comprise the entity that's making the property use decision in question. And I don't understand why we would demolish the building.
I share this not to pat myself on the back, so to speak, but simply to share the small yet rewarding realization that came to me as I walked back to the Journal office for a few more hours of work: it is still possible for one person to engage with the local government and local press on an issue that a person feels strongly about - and make change. Not in a romantic sense, but in a rough, uncertain, "extra fifteen minutes here or there if I can swing it" imperfect way. It is at least worth enough to be worth a try.
Tonight was a nice little refresher on citizenship at the most local of levels. It's been a while since I've really been able to engage outside the confines of this venue. It felt good.