For a lot of college students lately, weekends have been consumed with protesting. Students stay up late making signs, getting their comfy shoes ready, and setting out early in the morning to march for or against one cause or another. Almost every day you hear about a new protest—science marches, immigration rallies, gun violence protests, and more.
College students have a lot to say. Some are just now starting to form their own ideas and opinions on social issues, and they are being introduced to a new chapter in life, which helps them gain new information and perspective. It is easy for one student to feel insignificant or too small to change anything, so protests are a great way to be a part of something bigger. Students all over America are joining hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of other protesters in campus-wide, statewide, and nationwide demonstrations. In fact, according to Inside Higher Ed, an estimated 50,000 college students joined the Women’s March on Washington.
So how do you make your voice heard in college?
Plan a protest
Planning a protest can seem like a daunting task, but if you are truly passionate about something, you should speak up. First of all, remember your protest must be peaceful. Disrupting the daily conduct of the school is not allowed. You should also check with your school to see if they have any specific guidelines or rules about peaceful protests and demonstrations. Set a date, and know your cause. Then get some friends! A protest doesn’t have to be hundreds of people; it could just be you and some classmates. You could even get creative and create custom T-shirts or a Snapchat geofilter. As long as you're respectful and get the experience of making your voice heard, then you have organized a successful protest.
Join a protest
Do your research! Local protests are often posted on social media or reported by local news stations. You can also search for different protests and rallies at rallylist.com. When you hear about a protest, research what they are demonstrating for or against. If you are also dedicated to the cause, plan to join them! Buy some poster board and make a clever sign about the movement. You can go with friends or by yourself, but plan to be out for a while.
Above all, remember that change is gradual. A protest, no matter how big or small, will not incite change immediately. It could take weeks, months, or even years before something is done about the issue, and that’s okay. Don’t lose faith in your voice, and keep exercising your civil rights!