Campus Activism – Demonstration and Action

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On November the 25th, the announcement was made that Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, would not be indicted. College students across the country spared no time in displaying their vexation as there have been no shortage of protests, sit-ins and walkouts. Students have taken to the quad with their hands up and have gathered inside and in front of administration buildings. Others have stiffly laid down on the ground of student activity centers while student leaders have taken to any available podium to deliver fiery soliloquies on the value of black lives. It appears the spirit of activism is alive on the college campus once again.

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While this generation has the Ferguson Decision to rally around, campus activism is nothing new. The 1960’s saw numerous protests in opposition to the Vietnam War while the late 2000’s saw student disapproval to the War in Iraq. While campus activism doesn’t necessarily have to be focused on worldwide or national issues (tuition increases always seem to spark at least a petition), this writer distinctly remembers the activities that took place on his campus in regards to Hurricane Katrina.

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In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina literally tore apart New Orleans. The issue that led Kanye West to declare that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” however, was the government’s lackluster response to the tragedy. As the Interfraternity Council president, I was part of a collation designed to provide aid to evacuees. These efforts started out wonderfully with a front page article in the September 13th, 2005 edition of the campus newspaper. 14 days later, the efforts all but stopped as the headline “Student Participation in Relief Efforts For Katrina Victims, Lower Than Group Expected” replaced the words of activism and calls to action that graced the cover just two weeks earlier. While attending rallies and providing sound bites were easy enough, campus interest began wane once the time for action came. By October there more effort was given to selecting Halloween costumes than participating in food drives.

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In no way is this article suggesting that demonstrations are frivolous. On the contrary, demonstrations are an extremely important tool in the process of “change”, as they are key for bringing attention to a situation. A student may not be aware of the fact that tuition is increasing until he passes by a group of protestors on the way to the student activity center and reads their signs or their leaflets. With social media being so engrained in our lives, many students become aware of issues online. However, while Twitter may be the new CNN, students must not let college activism die after 140 characters.

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While demonstration is important, it is only the first step. The real change comes once the TV and newspaper cameras have been shut off. If demonstration is where change begins, then action is where change happens. Now that you have the masses behind your cause, what action will you take to make real change? In the current Ferguson issue, there is a plethora of action that one can initiate. Perhaps action is working with local law enforcement to host a campus workshop where students can learn their rights and proper procedure when interacting with officers. Maybe action is you and your brothers or sisters volunteering as a peer mentors for younger students on the high school and middle school level. Then again, action could take the form of you and your dorm mates creating or participating in existing after-school activities to provide a safe environment for younger students to seek refuge in. Or perhaps action looks like something completely different than all of this. The point is, while demonstration serves as a great reactionary response, it is action that will continue to spread the message past the first 14 days and will ultimately lead to the change which one seeks.

Tofu Stir Fry and Lettuce Wraps Recipe!

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tofu

This is a quick and easy recipe that will please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. It only takes about 15 minutes to make and doesn’t require too much preparation. You can also make adjustments to the recipe to fit your taste!

 What You’ll Need:

 -Extra Firm Tofu
-1 Bell Pepper
-1 Yellow Onion
-Mushrooms (Baby Bella or White)
-Iceberg Lettuce Head
-Rice (I used a brown rice and quinoa medley)
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Teriyaki Sauce
-Salt and Pepper to taste

 Directions:

  1. Cut tofu into small cubes.
  2. Chop peppers, onions, and mushrooms into desired-size chunks.
  3. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a pan. Add tofu, peppers, onions, and mushrooms and cook on a medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes
  4. Cook rice according to the directions on the package/bag you have. (If your rice takes longer than 5-7 minutes to cook, keep that it mind, and start cooking it first.
  5. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of Teriyaki sauce over your tofu and vegetables and stir until evenly mixed.
  6. Add rice to pan and stir. Add a bit more Teriyaki sauce if you want.
  7. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper for added flavor.
  8. Cut you lettuce wrap into slices that about the size of your palm and serve with your stir-fry.

Thanksgiving Break: Dos and Don’ts

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thanksgiving
Do:
Spend time catching up with your friends.

You probably haven’t seen much of your friends while you’ve all been away at different schools. Sure texting, social media, and Skype sessions help you stay in touch, but nothing compares to actual human interaction, so you should definitely carve out some time to hang out with your friends and just enjoy their company.

Don’t: Ignore your family.

Hanging out with your friends is important, but don’t forget about your family. While you’ve been off having a great time at school, they’ve been home missing you so don’t neglect them. Spend some quality time with your family: have a family dinner, a movie night, go shopping, or whatever else you want, but make the time count!

Do: Indulge at Thanksgiving dinner.

You’ve been away from home for almost three months by now, so you should take advantage of some great home cooking! Thanksgiving dinner has something for everyone, so make sure you enjoy your favorite part of your family’s menu. Sit back and enjoy the delicious food and quality family time.

Don’t: Overdo it.

By all means, eat mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, and whatever else your heart desires, but be careful. You’ll be tempted to send yourself into a food coma, but you don’t want to go back to school ten pounds heavier when Thanksgiving break is over. You’ll be very happy to avoid that.

Do: Get some much-needed relaxation.

With finals just around the corner, this is a great opportunity to catch up on some sleep and enjoy time off from classes. Take advantage of your ability to sleep in. Snuggle up with your dog or cat. Stay in your pajamas all day. Lay in bed for six hours watching TV. Do whatever relaxes you.

Don’t: Neglect your responsibilities completely.

If you have any homework or papers due when you get back, make sure to find time to do them. If you have a test the week you get back (it sucks, but it does happen) make time to study or at least go over your notes. This goes for personal responsibilities as well. If you have a workout routine that you like to stick to, find ways to work out while you’re home. There are tons of guided fitness videos on YouTube, so don’t feel like you can’t keep up your exercise at home.

How To Head Into Your Next Exam

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testStep 1: Prepare! Make sure you fit as much of the subject material into your brain as you can!

Step 2: Wear clothes you feel good in. Feeling comfortable or like you are putting your best foot forward will give you the right mindset going into the exam.

Step 3: Tell Yourself “I’m gonna ace this.” Believing in yourself is an important part of the process.

Step 4: Listen to your pump up playlist. If you don’t have a Pre-Exam Study playlist, make one and listen to it on your way to the exam.

Step 5: Breathe. I think this one is self-explanatory.

Step 6: Be well rested. Having to drink caffeine right before an exam can make you jittery and over think the test.

Step 7: Draw a smiley-face on the top of your exam. Just do it.

Step 8: Do your best! That’s all anyone expects of you.

Step 9: Don’t agonize about the test afterwards, there isn’t anything you can do about it.

Considering Your Future Through Each Stage of College

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Freshman Year:

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 This is your time to explore. Take a variety of general education classes and see if you discover a subject you never thought you’d have an interest in. Your freshman year is a great time to expand your horizons. It’s better to figure out what you really want to do sooner rather than later, so you have enough time to graduate on time if you make any changes to your plans. Sure, you might be coming in to college knowing what you want to do, but you never know. You could take a gen. ed. at the end of your junior year and realize your passions might lie elsewhere. Take advantage of the variety of courses available to you to make sure you know all of your options before you commit to anything.

Sophomore Year:

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Continue exploring, but start narrowing it down. You’re usually expected to declare your major by the end of this year, so you should start to seriously consider your passions so you feel more comfortable committing to a particular field of study and/or career path by the end of your Sophomore spring semester. Figure out if you want to take on a double major or perhaps some minors and certificates. Do your research to see what the requirements are to make sure you have enough time to complete them so you can plan accordingly. Talk to your advisor throughout this process, he/she can be very helpful. This is also a good time to start thinking about the campus organizations that can be useful for your future career once you start to figure out what you want.

Junior Year:

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You might be able to get away with waiting until the middle of this year to officially declare your major, but you should be paying close attention to the requirements of the major or majors you are considering. If you want to be able to graduate on time, this is crucial. This is a good time to start applying for internships if you haven’t already. Internships have basically become a necessity for college students hoping to get full time jobs after graduation. You should also be figuring out what your options are for after you graduate: Grad School? Medical School? Law School? Straight into your career? Take a year off to travel? Get a job teaching English abroad? You should look into all the options you’re interested in so you know what you have to do to make it happen. Look at the application process for different programs and/or jobs. Do all the research you can and there will be fewer surprises. You’ll be much more relaxed if you’re prepared.

Senior Year:

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At this point, you should be pretty clear about your plan. There’s still some time to make decisions about your post-graduation plans, but don’t put things off for too long or you run the risk of delaying your progress. There are deadlines for a lot of your options and you don’t want to miss them or you might have to wait a year. Make sure you’re keeping up with your current academic requirements so keep in touch with your advisor so you stay on track. Make sure you do everything you need to do for graduation so it will be less stressful. Graduation can be an emotional time so minimizing your stress will make the whole process less overwhelming.