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Why is Membership in Activism Clubs on the Decline?

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By ANONYMOUS
contributing Writer
Chargerbulletin@.newhaven.edu

There are many student activist groups on the University of New Haven campus, but they have seen their membership declining to the point that some of them have had to disband. This has occurred with several clubs and organizations in the past few years, including Green Team, Think Outside the Dumpster, and Habitat for Humanity. Many of the still existing activist and social service groups on campus have seen a steep decline in membership, including CCTIP, Amnesty International, and Engineers Without Borders.

These membership declines are baffling not only due to the fact that these clubs have so many people signing up at their interest meetings and at club fairs, but also because a quick Google search of “student activism on college campuses” yields results such as articles from The Atlantic entitled “The Renaissance of Student Activism” and an NBC News article entitled “Student Activism Leading Change on College Activism,” which were posted within the last nine months.

As news reports and articles show, there is a steep incline of student activism on college campuses, generally, due to the fact that students are unhappy with the world around them. Where is that activism and drive on this campus? There is certainly a need for change. The RSO diversity trainings at the beginning of the year made that very clear, as did the attendance at many diversity themed events last semester. Even the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and die-in protests last year were very small. Are we afraid of the campus climate? Yes, we go to a mainly conservative, mainly criminal justice school, but that’s no reason for us to be running around scared.

It shouldn’t be just the club executive boards that have to go to diversity trainings either. They should be open to the entire student body because, for the most part, the executive boards are not going to discuss the trainings with their members, and if they do, it won’t be in such an impactful way as the diversity trainings.   Yes, some of the trainings are flawed, but if we held something like the diversity panel, even just once a month or had some roundtable discussion where the students could go voice their concerns about campus climate, it would be an improvement to the on the current system.

We can’t simply rely on the clubs to make these changes, especially if they’re met with a brick wall and a list of reasons why what they’re proposing can’t be done every time we try. We need some type of forum for students to voice their concerns to campus leadership, whether that is in the form of protest or civil discussion. If we try to change the campus climate to one that is more open and accepting, then there would be no fear of backlash for joining the many student activist groups on campus, and the campus would be more understanding in regards to what those activist clubs are trying to accomplish.

The community backlash from the protests and the conservative campus climate may be the reason that there is not much activism on campus, but not in my opinion, that backlash should be the reason why there would be more student activism on campus. We should show the rest of the student body that we’re not all like those jerks who abused the die-in protesters and slung hate speech on Yik Yak. We should show the rest of the student body that we actually care about current events and things happening in the world outside of UNH. We should show the rest of the student body that we actually care about current events and things happening in the world outside of UNH. We should show the rest of the student body that we care about bettering the UNH community by making it more fair and inclusive to all, but we can’t do that if we don’t speak up about the problems on our campus and in the world.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Why is Membership in Activism Clubs on the Decline?