I Left Arizona’s Blue Chip Leadership Program
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Student Life

I Left Arizona’s Blue Chip Leadership Program

It may be right for some, but it was not right for me.

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I Left Arizona’s Blue Chip Leadership Program
Beach & Bush

In the months leading up to when I first started college at the University of Arizona, I remember receiving a barrage of emails regarding something called the Blue Chip leadership program, which was supposedly some sort of unique leadership experience that University of Arizona undergraduates could sign up for. Being the naive young soon-to-be college freshman that I was, I signed up for the program and paid the $350 yearly fee that was required. I’m not sorry I joined, but I’m also glad that I quit the program after two years and decided not to stay in it any longer.

Ever since I quit, I have been searching for some sort of medium with which to express my frustrations with this program, so like a true millennial, I have now taken to the internet to vent my feelings and frustrations regarding Blue Chip, and here they are.

The program was not worth the money. We were essentially paying $350 a year for stale popcorn and cheap lemonade at events. The rest of the money I assume was paying the salaries of the people running the program. I’m not really sure what their job was, but I assume it was something.

The program also required us to take a series of classes that were, of course, totally useless. They treated us like little kids, not college students. Blue Chip was bad enough as a program, but now we were getting a grade for it. It was terrible.

Also, the retention rate for the program was horribly low, which says something about it. The program manages to recruit several hundred students each year, then the vast majority of them drop out once they realize it’s not worth it, and more and more drop out as the years go on. I heard a rumor that they were trying to start a policy where first-year students would have to apply for the second year of the program. But that idea was quickly thrown out the window when so many people dropped out during the first year that they didn’t even have enough to fill up the slots available for the second year. This was just a rumor, so I don’t know for sure how true it was, but I would definitely believe it.

I thought that Blue Chip would teach me about leadership and help me become a better leader, improve my public speaking skills, build confidence and all of those other fun things. Little did I know that the program was mainly just a forum for preaching inclusive language and political correctness. I have nothing against these things normally, but Blue Chip took it way too far. They were all about inclusivity, and this was one of the most important lessons taught to first-year Blue Chip students.

According to their philosophy, you should never say “you guys” when addressing a group of people because some of them may not identify as guys. When someone sneezes, you should say “salud” instead of “bless you” because some people may not want to be blessed. The terms fireman, policeman, congressman and basically anything with the word “man” are apparently offensive because they only favor men. This includes the term “freshman,” which is apparently also an offensive term now. That’s correct, new college students should now be referred to as “first-years” instead because apparently, any word that ends with man is now sexist. Last but not least, don’t ever say that you got gypped because it may offend the gypsies.

These are the kinds of things Blue Chip believes in, and I just could no longer be in a program that teaches things I fundamentally disagree with. I do think that as people, we should try to be inclusive and try not to unnecessarily offend anyone, but Blue Chip tries to take things that are not inherently offensive and make them offensive, which I think is a huge problem. If you honestly get offended by the phrase, “You guys,” then you need to take the giant stick out of your ass.

Programs like Blue Chip are perpetuating the idea that just about anything can be offensive if you want it to be. I’m just not a fan of people who get offended by every single little thing anyone says, so I couldn’t be a part of a program that seems to tell people they should be offended by every little thing people say.

Some phrases are offensive, but all Blue Chip wants to do is take phrases that are not offensive and find a way to make them offensive. I'm not a fan.

My breaking point came at a Blue Chip presentation about etiquette where the speaker said, “We are going to talk about manners, or wo-manners, if you prefer.” I almost had to walk out of the room. The word manners is not offensive or sexist. I’m sorry, but it’s just not.

I could not do it anymore. I made a point to say, “Hey guys” and “Bless you” as often as I could thanks to Blue Chip. I had to get out, so I did. The program may be right for some people, but it was certainly not right for me. So after two years of Blue Chip and $700 invested, I decided to quit, and I am so thankful that I did. I’m way too sarcastic and cynical to take seriously any of what Blue Chip was trying to teach. Still, I made some friends in the program that I am still friends with today, and it will hopefully look good on a resume one day, at least to people who have no idea what the program is about. By the way, all the friends I made left the program as well.

These are some of the many frustrations I had while a part of the University of Arizona's Blue Chip Leadership Program, frustrations that I have now successfully vented about on the internet in true millennial fashion.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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