We college students serve as spectators to a time of rapid societal transformation. But in these turbulent times of social, economic and political discord, the conventional wisdom that dictated the times of our grandparents does not necessarily hold up any longer.
In order to enact effective social change, college students must be civically and politically engaged to the fullest extent. We must make the shift from mere spectatorship to active participation. If we do not take hold of our own destiny, it will be taken care of for us.
It’s important to realize that one does not need to save the world nor take on Herculean tasks. Social change is actually very simple. It’s a matter of courage.
To undertake the grand manifesto of social change, we must possess the idealism and initiative to do so. I have already heeded this call.
Motivated by an incessant and unyielding quest for justice, I was fervently engaged with Students Toward A New Democracy (STAND) in a two-year unionization campaign for campus food service workers employed under Chartwells. We wanted to help provide them with equitable wages and improved working conditions.
Social change is empowerment in itself, and it originates with agency. Most individuals fail to realize that agency cannot be attributed to the politically powerful or ascribed to those of a particular socioeconomic status. It’s not solely a tool for the dominant or the wealthy.
Rather, it is a quality that is ubiquitous in nature. It is a tool that is far more potent and effective than any counter-action undertaken by a government institution or business corporation. It is the most valuable asset we possess.
Rise above the fatalistic apathy and indifference that seemingly devours so much of society. Become aware of your privilege. Be sympathetic toward those that are suffering and in need. Do not feign ignorance, for it is never bliss. Devote time and energy to worthwhile social causes. Regularly exercise your right to vote in political elections. Stay informed on current events.
We are all capable of becoming incredible agents of social change. One merely needs to take the first step.
Rebecca Garcia is a junior majoring in international studies.