When I first entered college, I was overwhelmed by the vast list of clubs and organizations active on my campus. Instinctively, I clung to the organizations I was familiar with, meaning I didn’t search past the typical “Young Democrats” or “Young Republicans” clubs for my political involvement. These are amazing organizations, especially if you want to get politically involved, but after completing my freshman year, I realized that there are so many more options. Whether you are a returning student or an overwhelmed prospective freshman like I was, here are five more unique ways to get involved in politics on your college campus.
1. Campus Newspaper
Being a writer for your campus newspaper is a great away to share your political views and gain great resume experience. This is especially valuable because you have the opportunity to not just write about national issues, but also about specific events and incidences on campus. While researching newspapers to write for, be sure to also look into other organizations involved with blog writing or magazines that publish papers weekly. Also, if you are interested in a different kind of political expression, some schools have a separate paper designed for satire, which allows students to express their political views in a different way.
2. Service Organizations
While service organizations may not traditionally be thought of as political, many clubs such as Circle K have flexibility in their service projects. So, by being a member or holding a position in a service organization, you can offer different projects that aim to help a specific cause you care deeply about. For example, an organization may choose to raise funds and awareness about the political crisis in Venezuela, while another might aim to help with refugee resettlement in the area. Even without being a specifically "political" club, service organizations can tackle political issues.
3. Culture Societies
Many culture-based organizations host events aimed to help those in other countries. For example, the Filipino American Students' Association at my University hosted a series of events to raise funds for impoverished areas in the Philippines and awareness of ongoing political issues in the country. Some organizations even have blogs or websites where writers can post news, events, updates, or articles about political situations. This is a great, and really unique, way to get politically involved with a group you really care about
4. Group-Specific Organizations
Some clubs aim to serve certain specialized groups, such as Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students, the LGBTQ society, National Society of Black Engineers, etc. These groups are powerful because of their inclusiveness and active involvement on campus. They are also diverse in their involvement, allowing you to engage in government issue such as science funding, representation of a specific demographic in certain fields, healthcare reform and more.
5. Non-Mainstream Political Organizations
Another good option is non-mainstream political organizations. One good example of this is Young Democratic Socialists, which works to explore political and social issues as well as fight for more radical and structural changes to create a better society. Another example is an organization called Amnesty International, which focuses on improving international human rights by advocating for political prisoners, raising awareness on corruption worldwide and educating themselves and others on global issues. Lastly, another non-mainstream political organization that some schools have is a club called the Center for Political Engagement. The club allows students to be more politically active on campus by engaging them in political discourse, introducing them to various leaders in public policy and helping them find internships or jobs in the political field.
These are just a few different ways to get politically involved without the traditional clubs, and it is really easy to find additional ways specific to your university. Just remember, do not be intimidated by the massive list of organizations. There are plenty of ways to get politically involved, and if you feel that your school doesn’t have the club you’re looking for, you can easily start your own.
Lead Image Credit: Kane5187 via Wikimedia Commons