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Political Activism for College Students

Despite making up more than half of the population, young adults (ages 18-30) often find themselves marginalized from mainstream politics and decision making. 

When given an opportunity to organize, voice our opinions and play a meaningful role in political decision making, young adults consistently demonstrate our willingness and ability to foster positive, lasting change. We also become more likely to demand and defend democracy, and gain a greater sense of belonging.

College campuses provide a multitude of opportunities for young adults to interact with diverse populations, exchange ideas, join organizations, and develop skills to think critically about the world we live in.

No matter your political viewpoint or worldview, it’s important to exercise your civic rights and stand for the messages you believe are worth it. Here are the 5 best tips for getting involved in politics as a college student: 

  1. Educate Yourself

Before you get into politics, you should know what you’re talking about and be able to hold an intelligent and thoughtful conversation about the issues. 

Read your local newspaper. Then read your state newspapers. Then read national publications: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and more. Whatever you can get access to, read it; with so many magazines and papers being published online now, accessibility has never been easier.

Start by picking a few topics that you care about or find interesting. They can be broad topics like foreign policy or immigration or more narrow topics like art education in public schools. One nice thing about democracy is that you choose what’s important to you. 

The next step is to learn about the structure of government. Which parts of the government are responsible for making and executing the decisions you care about?

It’s important to know who your local legislators and politicians are. First, find your House Representative, and enter your address to find a full list of your elected officials

Once you know who your elected officials are, talk to them! Tell them what’s on your mind: what concerns you, what you expect of them, what makes you proud to live in your state. Their job is to listen to you, so reach out frequently and respectfully to voice your opinions.

Here are some general guidelines on how to contact your elected officials

Once you start gathering information, share that knowledge! Have discussions with your friends and family. Engage in respectful debate when appropriate. Spread the word.

  1. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! 

Voting is the most fundamental form of civic engagement in a democracy. This is the easiest and most effective way for anybody to make a difference. 

First, and most importantly: check your voter registration status in your state. If you aren’t already registered, make sure you REGISTER TO VOTE!

Registering to vote is a relatively simple process, and can be done in a few different ways. In general, registrants will need to fill out a form and provide some type of approved ID, like a driver’s license. A social security card or number may also be required.

  • In person: Especially during election season, students will find plenty of opportunities to register to vote in person. Often, canvassers walk around campus with registration forms and can help you fill them out. Otherwise, you can register to vote at your state or local election office, the DMV, armed services recruitment centers or public assistance offices.
  • Online: Online registration is available in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Vote.gov can help you determine if online registration is available in your state and, if so, direct you to the right form.
  • By mail: Students can pick up a registration form in person or download one from your state’s voting website, fill it out and mail it in with any other necessary documents.

When registering to vote, you can select a political party affiliation. While you may choose not to affiliate with any of the major political parties, it may prevent you from being able to participate in caucuses and primary elections. Closed primaries are generally reserved for members of the Democratic and Republican parties to determine the candidate that will represent each group in the main election.

If you’re not sure whether to consider yourself a Democrat or Republican, that’s okay! The Pew Research Center offers a Political Party Quiz to help determine where you stand on important issues. 

The next step is to learn your state’s voting laws. College students living outside of their home state may register to vote in either the state of their school or in their official state of residence. 

If you choose to register in your state of residence, you must register to vote in that state and request an absentee ballot for your state to be sent to your University postal address.

The Fair Elections Center offers an annually updated guide to each state’s voting laws. A quick Google search should turn up the website for your state’s secretary of state, who often serves as the chief election official. These websites include information on election dates, absentee voting and other issues. 

Another great resource for educating yourself on the voting process is Rock the Vote, which is geared toward helping young people vote and provides all the information needed to vote in each state. 

If you want to vote on Election Day, come up with a plan to make sure you’re going to the right polling place, and going when it’s open. This might mean going early in the morning, between classes, or at the end of the day. Even better, share your plan to others, in person or on social media, to help you stay accountable.

Take it one step further by hosting a voter registration on campus to inspire your peers. Here is a comprehensive guide to hosting your very own Voter Registration event

  1. Join a Student Organization

Discovering an organization in which to align your political ideals is a great way to start getting involved quickly. They already have an established power structure, goals, a way to execute their plans and a pool of resources that an individual may not possess on their own. 

There are generally political organizations on campus that cover the entire political spectrum, from liberal to conservative and everything in between. Most schools will have a registry, as well as a description of the group, posted online for other students to get involved. Keeping your eye out for groups that host tabling events, post flyers and are active on campus is the best way to find one without actively looking. Below are two organizations that are available to college students: 

College Republican National Committee

Find a College Republican Chapter in your state. 

Young Democrats of America

Learn more about this youth-led political organization

  1. Participate in or Organize Political Rallies

Don’t be afraid to advocate for a political issue that’s important to you. As a college student, you may be unsure about your political affiliation, but likely, you feel strongly about a variety of topics. Join a rally or march to add your voice to the choir. Or, if you want to be an organizer, hold your own awareness-raising event. 

Once you determine a pressing issue, learn all you can about it. Look for other students or community members that feel the same way. Work together to plan an event that will spread the word about your issue. Chanting, sign-holding and marching at an event might feel uncomfortable, but they’re powerful ways to get attention for your cause. If you have something bigger in mind, contact state or national groups that might be willing to help you out.

However, before you start protesting – learn the basics and take note of any important details. The American Civil Liberties Union’s guide to protesting rights will let you look up your state’s permit requirements and other prerequisites.

  1. Volunteer on a Political Campaign

Every political campaign – whether it be for your local school board, a state legislature, or Congress – needs hard workers, people serving as the boots on the ground.

Volunteering on a campaign can mean making phone calls (known as phone banking), sending text messages, or canvassing door-to-door to advocate for a political candidate. Every election cycle, campaigns rely on “on the ground” volunteers to spread grassroots enthusiasm about their candidate and their cause.

In the United States, the most popular form of volunteering tends to be for presidential campaigns, but the presidency is hardly the only office in American politics. First-time volunteers might find their time is more effectively spent advocating for local representatives, whose policies more directly affect their day-to-day lives.

In conclusion, the best place to start getting politically active is within your own mind, forming opinions and values based upon your experience and the shared truth of others. 

5 First Steps to Political Involvement in College 

  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Vote!
  3. Join a Student Organization
  4. Participate in or Organize Political Rallies
  5. Volunteer on a Political Campaign

No matter what your motivation is to get active, it’s important that you do. Without exercising your right to assemble and petition the government, nothing will ever change. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum or whom you vote for, what matters is not being a passive citizen, but rather an active one that strives for better.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Be sure to connect with us, @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-participate-in-government
  2. https://advocatesforyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Youth-Activist-Toolkit.pdf 
  3. https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/student-activism-on-campus/
  4. https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/promoting-student-political-engagement-and-awareness-university
  5. https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/student-voting-guide/#test2

Should College Athletes Be Paid?

One of the biggest questions surrounding the NCAA and college athletics in recent years has been whether or not college athletes should be paid. According to a survey conducted by College Pulse in 2019, over 50% of college students polled support compensating college athletes. With 460,000 athletes making a minimum $25,000 salary, this could easily cost over 11 billion dollars!

 A common misunderstanding surrounding college athletics is that athletes are already being paid.

Do College Athletes Get Paid?

Based on current NCAA rules, college athletes are unable to personally profit off of their name or likeness. This means that a college athlete cannot receive endorsement deals or sponsorships during their time as an NCAA athlete. The only money that college athletes are eligible to receive are scholarships and cost of attendance stipends from their university. The cost of attendance stipend was made legal by the NCAA in 2014 in order to allow universities to provide extra funding to student athletes to cover all tuition and attendance expenses. This ruling was made after several NCAA athletes mentioned that they would go to bed hungry because they did not have enough money to afford food.

Despite the fact that the NCAA has allowed athletes to receive extra funding, the question remains: Should college athletes be paid?

The Case for Paying College Athletes

 1. Being a Student Athlete is Like a Full-Time Job

It’s no secret that college athletes dedicate a good portion of their time to their sport. Whether it be training sessions, games, or media commitments, sources say that college athletes spend up to 40 hours a week (at least) on their sport. This is similar to working a full-time job while also attending classes and keeping up with school work. Since being an athlete requires quite a bit of time and energy, many athletes do not have time to work other jobs for money.

 2. Cost of Attending School Exceeds Scholarships

One of the biggest issues that college athletes face is finding the funds to pay for extra expenses. For quite a few athletes, the total cost of attending school exceeds the scholarship that they have been given. A large portion of student athletes come from low-income households meaning that it would be almost impossible to afford college without a scholarship. Since student athletes are limited in how they can be financially compensated during their collegiate career, many struggle to afford extra expenses that may arise.

3. Colleges and the NCAA Profit off of Athletes

Sports like college football and college basketball have become the financial backbone of many college athletic departments. In 2017, the NCAA grossed more than $970 million off of college athletics while student athletes received very minimal reimbursement. In 2014, the NCAA made it legal for schools in its Power 5 conferences (PAC-12, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and SEC) to give student athletes a stipend as compensation for their work. However, this rule was not mandatory and many athletes still struggle to make ends meet.

College Athletes Getting Paid: The Debate

The debate about student athletes getting paid has been fueled by comments from star athletes like LeBron James and Richard Sherman, as well as politicians like Bernie Sanders. Many of these individuals have expressed that it is crucial that the NCAA pay athletes because they are workers for their universities. 

Why College Athletes Should Not Be Paid

Despite the fact that there is a large number of people in favor of the NCAA paying athletes, there are quite a few individuals who still feel that college athletes should not be paid.

There are several points that have been made in support of the argument against paying college athletes. Many college and athletics administrators and NCAA officials have tried to argue that college athletics are about students playing other students. If college athletes were to be paid, that focus would shift to employees playing employees.

Additionally, there are several reasons why paying college athletes would cause disruption in the higher education system as a whole. A bill proposed to the California state legislature called the “Fair Pay to Play Act” would allow college athletes in California to make revenue off of their name and likeness. However, several NCAA officials have opposed this bill stating that it would allow California schools an unfair advantage. The president of the NCAA even suggested that schools who allowed athletes to benefit from this bill would be barred from competing in NCAA championships.

 At this given moment in time, the NCAA and higher education athletics departments would require a large restructuring within their organizations to monitor and regulate payment of athletes. The college sports landscape as a whole would require a complete restructuring to allow athletes to profit off of it. This is another reason why many are hesitant to move forward with regulations allowing student athletes to receive financial compensation beyond scholarships. Many feel that the consequences and hardships that might come from allowing this to happen would outweigh the potential benefits.

Why College Athletes Should be Paid

On the other side of the debate, many believe that college athletes should be paid because they should be allowed to profit off of their name and likeness. Advocates for the “Fair Pay to Play Act” and other initiatives in favor of paying college athletes suggest that while it might be a struggle initially, college athletes getting paid could be a legitimate enterprise. This enterprise could be used to benefit both college athletes and local businesses in college towns by allowing those athletes to receive promotions from businesses in exchange for endorsements.

 Think of it this way. What if an athlete like Joe Burrow – or any member of the LSU Championship team – could partner with a local restaurant in Baton Rouge in exchange for profit or free meals? Chances are the business would gain visibility and the athlete would also benefit from the exchange.

 Of course, paying college athletes would come with its own set of challenges, but many feel it’s time to correct the fundamental wrong that is profiting off of young athletes while preventing them from receiving any of that revenue. If fans are going to continue to enjoy college game days and expect top notch performances from college athletes, allowing college athletes to profit off of their name and likeness is something that will need to be considered. While the star football or basketball player may seem like a local celebrity, they’re still a young college student trying to make ends meet.

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://www.athleticbusiness.com/college/how-ncaa-athletes-are-spending-their-extra-stipends.html
  2. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/654808-pay-for-play-should-college-athletes-be-compensated
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/11/student-athletes-should-get-paid-college-students-say.html
  4. https://www.collegesportsmadness.com/article/18319#:~:text=A%20Salary%20Would%20Help%20Student-begin%20their%20adult%20life%20securely
  5. https://globalsportmatters.com/youth/2019/04/09/ncaa-says-amateurism-is-key-while-student-athletes-are-left-without-food/
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/26/learning/should-college-athletes-be-paid.html
  7. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/29/ncaa-proposes-letting-college-athletes-get-paid-for-endorsements-220507
  8. https://www.si.com/college/2020/04/29/ncaa-name-image-likeness-rules-college-sports

How to Survive Your First Career Fair

Most of us are attending school in order to better ourselves in the face of the daunting “real world.” We put in hard hours at the library, bust our butts beefing up our resumes, and try our best to broaden our skill sets in the hopes of one day landing our dream job. Of course, as you progress in your days at school you’ll inevitably run into a particularly daunting event: the career fair. Here, both you and hundreds of other students try to impress businesses in the hopes of getting a job. If you’ve never been to a career fair, here are some useful tips:

career fair

1. Dress to Impress

At a career fair, you have the chance to meet employers and recruiters face to face. Therefore, it’s important to dress the part. Most women tend to wear dress pants or a skirt, a blouse, and nice shoes. Men often wear a suit or a dress shirt and tie. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be boring- wear what you feel good in. Additionally, make sure to properly groom yourself. You want to stand out, but I can guarantee that bad breath and dirty hair is not the way to do it.

career fair

2. Prepare an Elevator Pitch

Again, career fairs are your chance to personally meet with potential employers. This being said, you should have an idea of what to say about yourself. Before you go, look over your resume, accomplishments, and aspirations to come up with a quick few lines to tell recruiters. Introductions are much easier with prepared lines and employers will appreciate a candidate who is both prepared and knows what they’re good at.

career fair

3. Ready Your Resume

When attending a career fair, be sure to print out plenty of resumes. Although some might recommend printing your resume on premium paper, doing so can be expensive and difficult. Further, employers might not pay attention to the type of paper that you use because most resumes are submitted online. Regardless, review your resume to ensure it is grammatically correct and well formatted. Contact your school’s career advisor or check out some tips online!

career fair

4. Do Your Research

Many career fairs host hundreds of companies, making you likely to find at least one that suits you. However, it’s difficult to understand a company from looking at the sign on their table. Avoid this confusion by doing your research. Look up the listed companies attending the career fair and find out what they’re looking for. Employers notice when you’re educated about their company.

5. Confidence is Key

The final tip that I can give you is to be confident!  Following the above steps will prepare you for surviving a career fair. You’ll show employers you’re the most unique, qualified person in the room. Acting confident more strongly conveys this message and helps leave memorable impression. Together, someone will likely think of you when it’s time to hire a new employee.

Career fairs don’t have to be stressful. Come prepared, do your research, dress the part, and be confident. Everything is going to be okay!

Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad

During your time in college, you may have an opportunity to study at an institution in another country. Many college students partake in this opportunity, as it can be a life changing experience. Here are some of the top reasons to study abroad:

1. New Way of Learning

You may have a 4.0 GPA at your home institution, but wouldn’t it be great to step outside of your old familiar classrooms and libraries? Studying abroad can offer a fantastic opportunity to continue your studies in an environment that is completely new and fresh.

Studying Abroadimage source

2. Travel

Once you graduate college and have a full time job, you may not have the opportunity to spend a few weeks or months in a foreign country. Take this time to travel while you have minimal responsibilities elsewhere.

Study abroadimage source

3. Interact with other cultures

Everyone does not have the opportunity to interact and make friends with people from other countries. Studying abroad could give you the chance to see what college life is like in a country that is unfamiliar to you.

Global Friendshipsimage source

4. Expand your world perspective

It’s easy to get comfortable in your own mindset and cultures, but traveling internationally can give you a fresh perspective on the world, your life, and how it all fits together. The world will seem much smaller when you realize that we all have much more in common than we think!

Travel the Worldimage source

5. Learn a new language

Studying abroad can be especially beneficial to those studying linguistics or who wish to learn another language fluently. No amount of textbook studying can compare to one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of the language you are studying.

Learning New Languagesimage source

Have you studied abroad? What were your reasons? Let us know in the comments below!

Typical College Schedule

Wonderbread’s Schedule

7:10: Alarm starts going off.  Several slurry expletives uttered.

7:30: Two snoozes later, I stumble to my desk and hit the books.  Why do you have to be so funny every night Jon Stewart?  Why?  Now I’m doing my Italian homework before class.  More curses.

8:15: Get ready for class

8:50: Out the door!

9:00: First class of the day, Italian.  It involves speaking in a foreign language to my peers.  I cannot name one thing about this I like.  Nevertheless, this is my 5thsemester of it.

10:00: Lecture

11:00: Optional Lecture/nap.  I call it optional because I have a good friend in the class who I know will have notes if I miss it.  Also it’s Art History and across campus.  I usually go but today I’ll take a nap in the Student Center before work (because I have no pride and I have a home, okay?  It’s just too far to walk without cutting into nap time).

12:00 – 2:00: Work at my amazing library job I can’t believe I landed.  I usually get to sit at the front desk and get paid to study, and it’s subsidized by Federal Work-Study so I get paid an ungodly sum for doing this.  Score.

2:15: Back in the ole dorm room or scrounging for food and caffeine at this point for afternoon labs, precepts (graded group discussion), or reading/writing for the next day’s class.

If I don’t have any afternoon classes at this point it is extremely tempting to nap/ play DJ Hero/ call the bestie and piece together what happened Saturday night /watch court TV, etc., but 3 years into college and I’ve learned that riding the tide of activity from earlier in the day is how I get some productivity in-between classes and having a life.

Nighttime is an adventure waiting to happen.  You’re surrounded by 1,000s of people your age with free time.  Get to it!

Frat Bro’s Schedule

Well I know Wonderbread likes to start her day off at 7:10 am. But the rest of us normal college students like to start our day at the latest point possible. After 3 years of college, I have followed some golden rules when it comes to scheduling for classes.

  • The golden rule! Never schedule a Friday class if at all possible!
  • Try not to schedule a class before 11am. This has a couple positives.
  • You have enough time to wake up before a test after studying all night and get that last couple hour cram session in.
  • You don’t have to worry as much about the angel on your right shoulder telling you it’s a bad idea to go out during the week.
  • For those of you trying to get a job make sure you clump your classes together so you have time to work after/before.
  • Try and live as close to the building that the majority of your classes will be as possible. This is clutch for that extra 10 minutes of sleep!
  • If you know you are going to have a really hard class. Try and give yourself an hour or so before it. This will give you time for homework and hopefully you wont want to shoot yourself after having already sat through lecture all day.

My day:

7:30 – dreaming about… wouldn’t you like to know

10:40- snooze….

10:50- class is in ten minutes, jump out of bed throw on a hat and some clothes (for some reason they don’t like when you show up in your birthday suit)

11:00- walk in to class as it starts; I try to sit towards the front to help my already dwindling attention rate.

12:00- some other class

1:00- lunch

2:30 – last class

I have taken one or two night classes these aren’t bad depending on the teacher and your willingness to sit in a classroom for 2 and a half hours.

5:00 usually head into work to be a server. I get to hear a lot of people complain for the next 4 hours.

 

Wonderbread

I’m reading Microeconomics