Pinto: A hub of great bubbles

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Pinto: A hub of great bubbles

Yoni Pinto, Columnist

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What do you see? What can you do? What do you know?

These questions, when answered, determine the limits of how you live your life. Nobody in the world has “everything” as the answer to all three of these questions  — everybody is limited in one way or another. Every single person in the world lives in a “bubble” of sorts, confined by their respective answers. The bubble is as large as everything one can see, everything one can do, everything one knows. The only way to enlarge the bubble is to see, to do, to know, more.

This is why a huge part of the lives we live are made by people who live around us. Around the world, people live by complementing each other’s “bubbles.” Every person looks at the world with distinct perspectives, every person has various skills, every person knows different things. Connecting with another person gives you more to see, more to do, more to know. It enlarges your bubble. It makes the world different, bigger, better for you.

This is the core value of any university: to be a community that harbors the exchange of ideas, perspectives and information. A university should make it possible for people to connect with each other, make it possible for people to exchange their experiences, make it possible for everyone to enlarge their respective bubbles.

On Monday, Medill alumnus Dick Reif had his letter to the editor published in The Daily. In the letter, Mr. Reif said that he would not be a part of Northwestern’s “We Will” campaign, which aims to raise $3.75 billion for various causes. Mr. Reif said he was holding his donations because the school had become “a misguided muddle on Lake Michigan.”

There have been quite a few problems in this school that need solving, I agree. A few areas of concern Mr. Reif identified, including the Title IX lawsuit alongside the stressful environment at the university, are important, and need to be fixed for sure.

However, I believe Mr. Reif’s criticism of President Schapiro for taking “21 trips to 11 countries” in seven months, as well as his criticism of “faculty members who hop on planes as frequently as students hop on the CTA” is completely misguided, and draws away from the core values to which this university aspires.

When President Schapiro visits 11 countries 21 times, he connects the university to prospective students who would otherwise have no relationship with NU, students who bring change and new experiences to members of the university if they come here. When professors “hop on planes” to meet with colleagues far away, they come back and transfer the new ideas and new experiences they gain to professors and students right here at NU.

It is connections like these that make it possible for me to come all the way from Istanbul to Evanston, and show the people here another way to experience the world around them. It’s through connections like these that I get to meet and learn from people from all around the world, as well as in the U.S. It is connections like these that make this university, even with all the problems that damage it, a hub of great minds and great thought.

So, I hope President Schapiro gets to travel around the world to make the connections that bring all sorts of people here. I hope our professors hop on planes as often as we hop on the CTA and exchange ideas everywhere. I most certainly hope that people from around the world keep coming here and make sure that NU is an ever greater hub of great bubbles.

Yoni Pinto is a Weinberg freshman. He can be reached at If you want to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to