Collective Activism on College Campuses

I found the two texts that we read very compelling and I think that each provides a great deal of interesting insight about activism on college campuses around the United States. In the article “Collective Action on Campus Toward Student Development and Democratic Engagement,” Adrianna Kezar and Dan Maxey present lots of significant points about how the relationship between students and faculty/staff influence activism on college campuses. For example, the authors emphasize that this relationship is crucial because it impacts how students participate in activism, how students understand activism, and how students foster and sustain their activist efforts. They state that “activism is a vehicle for students’ learning…” because it gives them the opportunity to learn about the democratic process and the various layers of democracy (Kezar et al 32). Because activism plays a key role in students’ learning, it is important that they have mentors (aka faculty and staff) who can guide them and teach them about effective activism. According to Kezar and Maxey, the collaboration of students and faculty/staff is not only sifniciant but also effective; that is because faculty/staff have experience and insight on the campus’ environment and understand how students can actually make their voices heard.

I believe that Kezar and Maxey’s article relates to our project because it is definitely important that we form a strong relationship with our stakeholders, especially the faculty/staff stakeholders. Many of the faculty/staff stakeholders that we have mentioned (Ashley Hinton-Moncer, Dean Covert, Disabilities Services, etc.) have experience with making constructive changes on Tansy’s campus, especially with student life. When it comes to our project, it is important that we use our feedback from these stakeholders effectively so that we can ensure that the needs of students’ with disabilities are met. Those with authority, like Dean Covert, have experience with what works and what does not work in terms of implementing seminars or workshops. Since we would like to provide some sort of training or seminar for faculty so that they can better understand how to assist students with mental health issues, it is important that we understand what does or does not work, which is what these stakeholders have a great understanding of. For example, these stakeholders know what types of learning activities have worked best at Transy for various reasons. For that reason, it is important that we not only listen to their suggestions or concerns but also attempt to apply their recommendations to our project so that we can propose the most effective solutions. If we do not take their feedback into account, then we might not propose the best solution(s).

Furthermore, the other text that we read is written by Nathan Heller for The New Yorker. Heller’s article is titled “The New Activism of Liberal-Arts Colleges,” and he illustrates how current events spark students to react on their campuses. From cultural appropriation to police brutality, Heller explains what the new activism looks like: protests, letters filled with grievances and demands for help/change, op-ed pieces, etc. What is important about this article is that it highlights multiple types of activism; Heller presents these different types of activism as well as highlights how students are seeking change. I believe that this article reflects what we’re doing in our class because each group has a different issue that they are addressing and different ways they are trying to find solutions for these issues. How Shelby and I might analyze our issue and present it to our stakeholders might be extremely different than how other groups do so. With that in mind, I believe it is important for Shelby and I to keep in mind that certain tactics might be better suited for our project in hopes that we meet our end goal.

Ultimately, what I learned from these two texts is that the relationships that exist between students and faculty/staff are incredibly crucial because they help students generate and sustain positive results based on their efforts. In addition, it is important to recognize what types of activism are best suited for certain situations, issues, etc.

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