The Decline of Student Activism: Our College Pick

Social media allows us to be passive activists, liking and hash tagging our way to political ideologies or social justice. On college campuses, Twitter campaigns flourish while forums and sit-ins languish. Writing for the Harvard Political Review last month, Gram Slattery reported on the intersection of old activism and new media via Divest Harvard, a student group that wants the university to stop investing in fossil fuels. Divest Harvard had significant media coverage, but few members. Slattery, a wary observer, spent months with the group wondering how they could possibly achieve their goals given the “small-ball, meetings-on-meetings cycle that wastes many modern activist causes on campus.” By the time Divest members try to blockade a building in the pouring rain you’re cheering not only their cause, but their willingness to go outside and stand up for their beliefs in the most analog of ways.

A Semester With Divest

Gram Slattery | Harvard Political Review | September 2, 2014 | 20 minutes (4,935 words)