In our increasingly polarized political system, making your voice heard is becoming more and more important. College students have always utilized their campus as a way to express their political ideas and advocate for change. Organizing and taking action on a campus is effective during the school year, but political change requires constant effort. It is difficult to continue this effort after school ends, so to help you, here are five ways you can continue to ensure your opinion is heard during the summer.

1. Contact your local representatives

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Your leaders are elected to be a proxy for you and your opinions. So, if you have an issue you would like your representative to focus on, contact them and tell them how you feel. The more calls they have for a certain issue, the more they believe their constituents care about it, meaning they will give it more attention and resources.

2. Attend local meetings

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There are so many opportunities for local engagement, no matter the size of your hometown. Go to town hall and city council meetings — these are a forum which allow you to easily discuss issues with local leaders. This is another way to stay connected to your representatives, but it is more direct, and often more impactful. 

3. Volunteer

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Volunteering is the most proactive way you can ensure that your voice is heard. There are many organizations and political campaigns that represent a range of views, and they are always looking for more help. Research local organizations and campaigns that share the same views as you and then volunteer for them. This not only allows you to spread the word and share your views, but also looks great on a resume. 

4. Petition

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Work together with other students to create a petition to send to your representatives. This is especially effective as a college student, because you can utilize GroupMe and other forms of social media to share your petition to a wide base. Creating a petition shows your representatives that not only you but many other people share your views and is often the most effective way of introducing an issue.

5. Vote

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This is possibly the most important: Vote! Voting is the most direct way to ensure change. Vote for people who represent your ideals and will work hard for what you believe in. Change can not be made if the people that can make the change you want aren’t in the position to do so!

If you wish to make a change in the politically sphere, you definitely can, even during the summer. Use these five steps to make an impact in your local community, something you do not really have the opportunity to do when you are at college. And, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Lead Image Credit: Caitlyn Chau via Unsplash