9/11/01

The “Edmundite Tradition” closely mirrors many of Robert Putnam’s recurring themes throughout his entire dissertation on America’s declining social trends. The “Edmundite Tradition” embodies exactly what Putnam describes as the pitfall of America. As Americans we moved away from the goals and ideals of our predecessors. We have shifted our focus from the well being of the community to the well being of ourselves. By shifting our focus from we have let our social capital diminish, while the facts and figures in Bowling Alone, suggest many different trends and reasons for the social capital deficit of the 21st century, we cannot assume all people are anti-community or self centered, most people realize the need for community involvement, on all levels (religion, politics, education etc.) but for one reason or another lack the time and resources to devote a large portion of their daily life to what seemingly is their civic duty. Places like Saint Michael’s incorporate these ideals of civic responsibility in to the education they provide their students.

Conscientiousness is important in raising the bar in social capital. By educating people in the events and happening of society it seems obvious that people will be drawn into the social and moral dilemmas of the world. Problems like poverty, AIDS, child abuse and alcoholism will tug on the heartstrings of the members of society and in turn spark a social movement to better society. This seems obvious that being socially aware will in turn spark people to want to make a difference and work for social change.

Engaging students in the effort to heighten and maintain social capital appears to be essential on many different planes. Students have mind sets that seem to be incredibly open and interested in various projects. At least this is my experience in attending the University of Massachusetts, and Saint Michael’s especially. Students are willing to help others, organize clubs, and work for social change, thus increasing social capital. This is evident in posters posted around campus denouncing our current war on terrorism. Students, are a wonderful resource to tap into for civic responsibility.

The “Edmundite Tradition” is seemingly Putnam’s ideal mission, to respect the dignity of all humans, to search for truth, develop moral character, to provide service and help to those around us, and to value community. Ideally, if everyone participated in the smallest way in the “Five Pillars” of the “Edmundite Tradition” the social capital of the United States would be astronomical. Saint Michael’s could quite possibly be Putnam’s ideal society in the ideals that it teaches.

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