When Did We Forget Our Basics: On Co-Inhabiting Campus Space

From a very early age, in schools and at home, we are taught certain very important things that we are expected to carry with us into adulthood. Examples include sharing lunches and living spaces, and being respectful of personal boundaries and codes of conduct. Yet, somehow with time, these values and teachings erode, for no identifiable reason other than our loss of respect and empathy for other people co-inhabiting the space we live in.


A very fine example of this is smoking up in the residence halls. Especially in universities like Ashoka, smoking is not permissible in residence halls. It is expected that students who wish to smoke will be respectful of the choices of their college mates who wish not to. However, there is no dearth of complaints from distraught students worried about smoke clouds in the hallways and smoke creeping into their rooms through the AC vents. Ashoka has a designated spot for smoking, and yet students continue to do so inside the residences where others could be suffering from asthma and allergies due to the actions of their co-inhabitants. There is a shocking absence of empathy from students who smoke in the halls.

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash


Libraries are supposed to be quiet environments conducive to working. Yet, more now than ever before, students have begun to complain about the constant chatter and sometimes even music being played in the premises. It is unbelievable how libraries are being treated as ‘hang-out spots’ by certain students who seem entirely oblivious to the strain other students undergo as their haven of calm and productivity is ruined. This happens because a simple code of conduct is not being followed by all users of the library. Librarians cannot be expected to be around all the time, and at the ages of eighteen and above, individuals can be expected to be conscientious even in the absence of an authoritative figure.

Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash


A college is a place where people come to explore themselves and garner as much knowledge and experience as is possible. It would be extremely difficult for every individual to maximise their gains from the college experience if we forget to respect each other as much as we respect ourselves. At the end of the day, it is important to understand that we can never live in isolation. Co-inhabiting requires cooperation and empathy, and it would be better for everyone if we did not forget this learning.


Edited by Daya Ambirajan (UG 2021)