Think about it: A list of all the things brought to us by way of gifts from our university. Looking only at what is listed during mid-October, we have: On Oct, 10, Idaho State University will bring back the beloved “I” perched for years on the side of the cliff adjacent to the University; on Oct. 12, there will be the Homecoming Parade as well as Spirit Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Oct. 15, they will present information from Health Science; Oct. 15 to 31 offers guided visits to the university (this requires notification); Oct. 24 will bring the 16th annual Retired ISU Employees Reunion at the Juniper Hill Country Club; and the list goes on.
Think again: 64 years ago, when we first moved to Pocatello so my husband, John Merriam, could teach economics, our understanding of a “university town” was based on our remembrance of the many small places to meet friends, eat and laugh about happenings that had occurred during the day or the night before. Pocatello had few places such as those.
As time has gone by, however, it has become obvious that the focus of “university town” has a reverse definition here. In other words, it is the incredible range of ways in which the university can help all of us become more knowledgeable about an unlimited range of information. Let’s take the library as an example. Townfolk can obtain a Community Borrower pass for $10 by calling 208-282-3152. This library has so much information, some of which is a collection of important events plus a myriad of books about whatever you want to learn.
Another source of information is the Health Department, through which you can receive needed information. The best way to make use of health questions, however, is to attend the yearly Health Fair, held in the Pond Student Union. There, you can have your hearing tested, ask about a variety of health issues and leave feeling satisfied or with suggestions as to what department to call.
You can also ask about your car and its problems if you go to “Chrome in the Dome,” held in March at Holt Arena. There, people are very willing to discuss old cars and their problems.
Beyond what has been mentioned above, there are a host of departments which are ready, willing and able to talk with you about all sorts of situations, questions and information. So take advantage of ISU: It has some excellent professor and experts representing a wide variety of highly knowledgeable topics. Not only do they have a vast amount of knowledge, but they are willing to answer questions and or direct you to someone who can spend more time dealing with your questions.
And now we come to why the information presented above is being provided. So many people have taken the stance that they don’t need to know about something in order to address it. It is easy to say, “Science is stupid because someone gets money to study a disease, an environmental problem or anything else. But then someone else comes along, gets money to study the same problem and then comes up with a different answer.” The person who makes this statement needs to learn the purpose of education and study in science and other academic fields: Further study is necessary until a widely useful answer is achieved. Coming up with answers requires testing and testing again for acute solutions
It is one thing to say, ”I don’t know why people tend to study and restudy a disease, climate or whatever,” but the next step must be, “I wonder why the issue is studied again and again.” An easy answer is to make use of our university by reading, talking with a professor, or merely asking a knowledgeable friend instead of depending upon negative responses based on no knowledge. Our University is well known in many disciplines, it has top notch Professors who stay here because of our beautiful natural areas. We should let them help us be informed rather than depend upon unverified ideas or thoughtless statements. We live in a town that is home to a wonderful source of information and we need to use it. The answer? Study the problem or confess a lack of knowledge.
Kay Merriam of Pocatello has a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She was the president of the state League of Women Voters for two years and president of the Pocatello chapter for two years as well. She was the president of the Bannock County Planning and Zoning Committee for 11 years and on the Pocatello-Chubbuck District 25 School Board for six years.