By Jacob Zimmerman, Opinions Editor
The lives of institutions like Furman are often made up of incremental changes and adjustments, little moments, transient even for those they directly affect. At the end of the holiday break, the student body received an email from Tom Saccenti, Furman’s police chief, updating students on changes in the regulations for mopeds on campus, which require that moped owners attend a two-hour seminar, and outlining specific penalties for moped-related infractions. This is the latest development in what has become a non-controversy involving the regulation of moped usage over the past years, which reached its zenith when mopeds were outlawed on campus from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.
As a senior, stumbling through my last semester at Furman in an existentially-charged stupor, the announcement of these changes inspires in me a sense of fond and ironic remembrance. As recently as a year ago, this sort of announcement would have warranted a second-page news story in this newspaper, but now in the face of a multi-million dollar budget deficit and the search for a new university president, debates over where one parks one’s moped seem antiquated, even naive.
While some seemingly insignificant controversies still generate fervor, the big questions and issues grow to overshadow the small, with time and perspective separating what is significant from what is not.
Despite this movement of history, the stories that newspapers like this one overlook are sometimes the stories that matter the most. Mopeds still matter, but perhaps not as a flashpoint for debate or for difference. As silly as it sounds, mopeds are now a part of Furman, just like the long lines for omelettes in the Dining Hall, the walk from the outer reaches of North Village on a rainy morning, and the experience of wandering into Furman Hall late at night to find all the rooms occupied by furiously working students. Occasionally inconvenient but oddly endearing, these little things — the concerns that consume so much of our daily lives, the given realities that could change completely at any moment — affect the members of the Furman community in ways that no newspaper, caught up in the task of making history out of normality, can ever fully capture.