Common stereotypes of millennials are that they are lazy, narcissistic and apathetic. They don’t care for politics or much else other than their existences and online presence. However, millennials have made their voices heard over the past several years at numerous demonstrations and protests, such as the women’s march this Saturday.
Due to both the past political season and different social issues that many find problematic, there have been numerous organized demonstrations of political beliefs in which millennials have taken a large part. Students who want to get involved, but have no idea how, can keep these tips in mind as they try to traverse the current political landscape.
The first step to any decision, such as becoming more involved in activism, is to do adequate, if not thorough, research. A good starting point is for them to find a couple causes that they are most passionate about, then read about their histories, founders, current leaders and if there are any local organizations for them, to begin with.
One common mistake students shouldn’t make is blindly drinking the Kool-Aid. Don’t take everything at face value. Question things. Make sure to look at both sides of the argument. If faced with an issue with one or two of the beliefs an organization has, students should not just shrug it off because they think they are too uninformed or new to the movement to have any valid qualms.
Every individual member in a coalition has the responsibility of keeping that group in check and holding them accountable. That’s the only way for these associations to evolve.
As most, if not all of this research will be done online, students should check the social media accounts of any organization or movement. This is the first step in actually getting involved.
Students should follow their causes on Twitter for instant updates, Instagram for a visual representation of what they do and Snapchat just in case there are certain events they can’t make, but want to still feel as if they are there. As most organizations use Facebook as their homepage, this may be the most important social network to have an alliance on because this is where everything that participants need to know will be posted.
Getting involved online doesn’t stop at liking a few pages. This is where students can introduce themselves to established members of the cause and troubleshoot issues or voice support. This is a good way to get their name out there.
The next phase in getting involved is for students to join a local chapter of an organization that shares their beliefs.
They can start by checking the clubs available at USF on BullSync. The College Democrats and College Republicans clubs are active at USF, if students want to start with political organizations. Then there are other clubs such as Pause for Paws, a group centered around animal activism; Feeding America, a food bank for the food insecure; and Hope for the Homeless, an association whose goal is to help the displaced in Tampa Bay.
There are many more, as USF boasts over 600 student organizations, so students should be able to find what they need on the Bullsync website.
Organize your own
If students cannot find an organization, then they can start their own. They will need an adviser, who has to be a full-time faculty or staff member or a graduate assistant; at least 10 USF students who wish to join, submission of a New Organization Request form, a constitution. They will also need to attend a New Student Organization meeting.
The New Organization Request form, a suggested template for the constitution and the link to RSVP for the New Student Organization meeting can all be found on BullSync under Student Organizations.