College politics has remained an integral dimension of college life since the inception of college education. Activism by students is always been a major medium to cause several economic, environmental or social changes at micro and macro level.
Several countries with notable history associated with student activism and politics comprises France, Germany, Australia, China, Canada, U.K. and the United States. Some of popular student political parties from the U.K. include Cambridge Union, Oxford Union and Durham Union etc.
Being a student leader is one of the most favorable actions an individual can take in an educational institution for society’s benefit and his personal development. This activity does not come with any credits or grades but incorporates a lifelong experience for the students. Management, decision making, team building and great communication and oratory skills are some of the attributes which the leaders gradually develop in the course of their student leadership.
The national political parties also have keen interest in the functioning of campus political activities. Various ways through which political parties are involved in college politics include making students work for election campaigns, giving funds and material for student’s magazines and newspapers and providing incentives to the students in return for their support.
The student activism is always been a victim of criticism with attempts to ban the politics in campus. Prohibition on politics in college is not a solution as it’s the energy and unity of youth in colleges that raises various issues relevant to this age group like-
- Keeping a check on tuition fee hikes by the universities.
- Ensuring quality education is provided to students without focus on commercialization by schools and universities.
- Fighting for social issues like LGBT rights, gender equality.
- Several environmental campaigns with support of students is another important aspect where college politics play a key role.
Achievements by student activists in recent years
One of the most revolutionary example of student activism was termination of Michigan assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell due to his anti-gay methods against Chris Armstrong, gay student body president of University of Michigan. Shirvell was actively trying to defame Armstrong with use of blogs and other mediums.
Another important example in this context is campaign by two students Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq across the U.S. to restore the importance of Islamic culture in the country when tensions related to development of Islamic Cultural Centre took place in Manhattan. They visited around 30 mosques around the nation to carry the cause of spreading positive word for Islam.
Announcement by the company Nike to pay around 1.5 million dollars in order to support and train workers in Honduras after they lost jobs can be considered another notable victory which took place by pressure of student activists group.
First forum on environmental justice was organized by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) with the concrete support of dynamic environmentalists from the U.S. colleges which shows how the activism by young crowd can bring positive changes.
It is strange that in spite of various success stories college politics is still treated as a negative trait by the state. It definitely comprises of dark sides which include use of politics to mistreat students of several races, use of violence to prove a point and forcing institutions to implement policies which are illogical. To control these issues, the laws should be more detailed with clarity in order to manage the over-radicalized form of politics rather than completely suppressing the voice of students as a whole.
Students too can help controlling the form of college politics as Instead of indulging into radical or violent form of politics, they should adopt more organic methods like:
- Organize college events related to social causes where one can reach maximum audience. Also, one can have social occasions based on the theme of your political fundamentals.
- Use various digital media channels like Twitter, Instagram, blogs etc to expand the reach of your political activity without the usage of anti-social ideas.
- Make sure views of all members and other campus students are heard and analyzed respectfully. This will not only develop the reputation as socially benevolent party but will also help to understand the thoughts of common college crowd.
These activist movements and political drives by students not only attempts to students’ lives but also prepare them for real world political scenario thereby attempting to strengthen the social and political structure of the nation.