In Seas’ writing, Writing Ecologies, Rhetorical Epidemics, she connects theories that ultimately argues what leads to a cultural epidemic. The components that lead to this are the virus, host, environment, and time. This idea comes from Malcolm Gladwell. Right away it was clear that this “Cultural Epidemic” that Seas’ wrote about could be directly correlated activism and issues in todays culture. This is evident in the line, ” rhetoric by and large as an art of social influence that aims to achieve a desired goal (Seas, 51).” I like this line a lot, because not everyone is trying to create an uproar with their movement but everyone does want change of some sort. These components put together, if correctly displayed, creates a Tipping Point that could take the idea past all expectations.
The first component of this epidemic comes from the virus. It is just like a virus that we speak of when it comes to health. This virus spreads throughout the body and causes a movement of some sort. This rhetorical virus that is talked about in the reading intensifies the issue or agenda that someone is wanted to push. To create and push this virus one must create a platform with a rhetoric backbone. This would include stories or images that explain why the issue is important. In our project, our “virus” is the way DPS mistreats some of the students on campus. Within the first two presentations in class, we told stories and anecdotes that got the classes attention and proved that DPS does have it’s issues. Before our presentation, some people might not have realized what was going on or really why it was an issue. After reading the text, it is clear to understand that with a little rhetorical help, it is easy for certain messages to be spread throughout a community. This could be good if your platform is solid, but if it is not ready for the public, it could be detrimental and uphold no value at the end of the platform’s life span.
The second component of the Epidemic is the host. This is the frame in which your virus will take place. For us, it would be how we are presenting our issue to the stakeholder, Chief Muravchick. Our issue is very sensitive because we are basically telling people what they are doing wrong and telling them how to fix it. This is very hard to do because they are the “professionals” in this situation, but we are also the direct targets that the professionals are working with. The frame is an essential piece to the platform. It is very memorable and could ultimately create change. When we present our issue to our stakeholder, our frame would work best if it was a conversations. It would include people who come off as non-threatening to our stakeholder and his team. We will explain that students feel like a bother, or ultimately get reprimanded verbally by the staff of the department for being themselves. We will go on with the conversation to figure out how much they value the students well being and mental state. This will lead into if the staff gets a training on sensitivity. If performed the right way, we could see some huge improvements in our campus life.
The third part of the Epidemic would be the environment. Our environment is our campus. We are a very unique campus created of individuals with very different backgrounds. This will help us define our expectations of how we believe DPS should act that will ultimately affect not only their department but also our student life. We will also use our classroom as an environment to get feedback from to see if they feel the way we do and if our approaches will work so that we can move on. This will help us get a very successful outcome at the end of our project.
The final component to our Epidemic is the time. We have a very short period of time to work on an issue that could be very complex. But, do not get this confused with this project having to end when the class does. Our project involves everyone on campus. Our group of five are not the only ones that have to be advocates for this issue. After talking to Serenity, she mentioned that we might want to get in contact with an organization that could continue on our efforts after our group dismantles so that the Department would/could still be held responsible for their actions towards students.