Activism on Campus
In today's political climate, it’s easy to feel powerless.
I grew up as a liberal in the conservative state of Texas, so being politically active wasn’t really something I did or was encouraged to do. Upon coming to Barnard, I had a newfound desire to do something--which brought me to Columbia University Democrats. This organization has helped me process the never-ending news alerts and made me active in politics like I had never been before. Now, I’m on the board of Dems and it’s helped me find tons of friends I never would’ve met otherwise. However, at my core, my love for Dems is because of how it’s made me more politically active.
For people looking to be politically active while in college, I’ve got a couple of suggestions. My first is to try and find a political club that you click with--there are tons at Columbia and they all have different levels of activism. My second suggestion is to find friends who are interested in politics too, and go to events together! There’s nothing quite like going to a protest with a huge group of friends or all getting together and calling your senators together. Not only is it more fun, but it also increases the scale of your impact.
On a more local level, you’ll learn about on-campus politics as a student. If you disagree with the administration, you may wonder how to make your voice heard. My tip is to do something. Talk to student government, protest, talk to professors, form a group to enact change--do it the grassroots way, and you could have some success.
In terms of off-campus opportunities, I’ve found that I love campaigning for candidates. One of my favorite things that Dems sponsors is an annual campaign trip where we canvass for a candidate for a weekend. Canvassing is something that can happen on any day, anywhere, and for anyone. I would really suggest getting involved with a local race or issue and doing some canvassing, calling constituents, and lending a hand in any way you can. It can be something you do on a Saturday afternoon every other week and it has a huge impact.
Lastly, stay knowledgeable and keep learning. Read the news while you eat your breakfast in the morning, take a class on a topic you know nothing about, and engage in conversations that will help you grow. College is all about learning and it doesn’t just have to be academic!
Keep on growing, dreaming, and holding our elected officials accountable!
Photo courtesy of the author.
This article does not reflect the views of Barnard College.