Last semester, shortly before the spring finals period, the Amherst College board of trustees made national headlines with an announcement that would drastically affect student life. Reaffirming the “spirit and intention” of their original 1984 decision, the board officially banned students’ membership, either on or off campus, of “any fraternity, sorority or other social club, society or organization” (emphasis added).

Loneliness is a problem at Amherst College. The 2014 National College Health Assessment conducted last semester reported that 76 percent of Amherst students felt “very lonely” within the past year, compared to 56 percent nationally. But this isn’t a new issue for us: the Student Health Educators began their “social cups” initiative in 2013 to combat the stigma associated with going to Val alone.

Last week, no matter where they were on campus, students couldn’t help but encounter the Black Lives Matter campaign. Posters raising awareness about incidents of police brutality confronted students walking out of Merrill, running to Val, heading home for a quick nap. Students who generally didn’t have to think about this issue much less fear for their lives on a daily basis were forced to confront this blatant inequality. Though some of us normally live our daily lives completely blind to this issue, the campaign pushed us out of the personal (and collective) Amherst bubble.

The common wisdom at Amherst is that you learn the most outside of the classroom. When we look back on our past years, what we will remember most are the late night talks in our first year dorms, chats with our professors over coffee and our favorite pieces of art at the Mead. Yet it’s hard to deny that, as much as we hate doing them, our essays, problem sets and exams are important too. They make what we’re learning relevant and important. Our grades hold us to our commitment to learn and push us beyond passive listening in class.

Because of our open curriculum, diversity of extracurricular activities and number of athletic teams, Amherst students sometimes don’t have a lot in common. In many ways, we’re a community of communities. But one thing that is universal among us is Val. Regardless of your opinion of the food, everyone is brought together by the fact that (with the exception of the Zü) we all eat and socialize there. During Jamaican Jerk night or Asian Tuesday, when the pasta line extends out the door, food can spark up a conversation across almost any social divide.

Room draw has always been a nightmare. Every year hearts are broken, years-long friendships are ended in a flood of tears and you walk out disappointed and full of CVS candy. The general disappointment and frustration with Residential Life is nothing new for the student body. Two years ago, in order to combat the perceived housing shortage, Dean Torin Moore announced his supposedly exciting initiative to move students to Alpine Commons, an apartment complex a mile away from campus. Only two students moved in the following year.

For the first time in recent memory, Amherst students have been without the significant representation found in a student body president. Yes, we’ve had upheavals within the AAS before: election scandals, constitutional conventions and even dissolutions of the entire governments. These repeated “scandals” only illustrate how, as students, our faith is visibly shaken in our student-led institution to do anything more substantive for the student body than dole out money to clubs.