Activism vital part of student experience
Upon entering college, many students see political or athletic activities they were interested in during high school fall to the wayside. Although sometimes it’s a case of students being otherwise occupied, a recent study claims the decline in activism just might demonstrate laziness and apathy in college students.
Conducted by a professor at San Diego State University, the study states millennials — those born in the 1980s or 1990s — are unlikely to show as much interest in the environment, politics or community outreach once they enter college.
The study also found millennials are concerned with money and reputation more than community involvement.
There might be students who do not care about activism in their community, but they are contrasted sharply by the students who are passionate about community involvement — and that is one group the study failed to mention.
In college, many students either are extremely passionate about a cause or couldn’t care less. Students seem to fall into one of the two extremes. Although the ones who aren’t passionate often outnumber the ones who are, the apathy of the majority shouldn’t undermine those who are fighting for certain causes.
For example, at MSU there are quite a few clubs and organizations that are passionate about what they believe in, such as MSU Beyond Coal, the Black Student Alliance and MSU Greenpeace, to name a few.
Members of all of these groups fight for causes in different ways. Some groups file petitions, others protest, others have meetings and some even hang banners from buildings. However, no matter how they choose to express themselves, the student groups are all passionate about what they’re arguing.
During our day and age, the lack of activism also could be attributed to the rise of social media. Many students will share things on Facebook or re-post statuses about movements going on around the world, such as Kony 2012 and the Justice for Trayvon Martin demonstrations.
People think that they have done their part, when realistically they didn’t really do anything. It creates a false sense of fulfillment for many students, and they think that making statements on social media sites is enough activism.
Although it’s true many students are apathetic about things they aren’t forced to be involved in, it is unfair for the researchers who conducted the study to make a blanket statement about all college students when there still are many students who passionately care about causes.
Activists are a necessary part of college communities, and sometimes they are forgotten for their work.
College is the place and time for those who demonstrate extreme passion for the environment, politics or the environment to make the most of their passions. It’s also the place for students whose passions are academic rather than political or social to make the most of those passions. By only focusing on what students don’t do instead of what they do, this study misses the point.