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by Nicole Loschke, staff writer

 

“I have only been here a month,” said HPU sophomore Laura Russell. “But I have been looking, and so far it’s been difficult to find outwardly obvious student activists (at HPU). HPU has a very fertile ground for a big student activist community; I just haven’t seen them organized yet.”

According to Jennifer Matheson, director of the Office of Student Life, because HPU is a commuter campus, and students live elsewhere, a high level of student involvement is more difficult to achieve. However, many students have found ways to exercise their own activism through small clubs and organizations within and outside of HPU.

All HPU clubs and organizations must perform one public service each semester. Anthony Marlin and Matt Price, both MSIS students, lead the Project Management Club. One of the tasks of the club is to help other HPU clubs organize service projects.

They helped involve other clubs, including the United Samoan Organization, the Chinese Student Friendship Association, the Black Student Union, the Computer Club, and the Accounting Club in the River of Life Mission Walk for Hunger.

The clubs set up a donation booth on Fort Street to collect $1 donations to sponsor designated walkers. They walked approximately two miles to enable the River of Life Mission to continue its work in rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration of homeless and low income families.

“ I like seeing people just doing something,” said Price. “Doing something to help the community is better than complaining about things you don’t like within the community.”

Becoming involved in various activist groups is not hard. Activities vary as widely as the different service and political organizations, and international groups, that arrange them. For example, Russell works for a non-profit grassroots campaigning organization.

“ Right now we are campaigning for a new energy future,” said Russell. “I talk to people one on one, making them aware of problems such as global warming and encourage them to take an active role in social reform.”

Even though most college students are scraping their change jars to pay rent, it doesn’t take much to become involved or to make an impact.

Veronica Andersson, an HPU senior and international relations major from Sweden, contributes to several non-profit campaigning organizations including U.S. PIRG. Even though she is an international student, Andersson finds herself participating in more political organizations and demonstrations than most American students.

“ I remember the first demonstration I participated in here,” said Andersson. “A reporter asked me why I demonstrate here when I am not from here. I feel that issues such as the war on terrorism and human rights impact the whole world. They have changed the whole climate of the world; since I am not at home, I have to do it here.”

Andersson and another HPU senior, psychology major, Patrick Hjelm, do their part in activism by educating students by passing out documentary videos on controversial topics such as human rights, African studies, civil war, globalization, economy, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, September 11, and the Venezuelan revolution.

“Most people don’t know or care about these issues,” said Hjelm.

“ We don’t distribute these to get people to agree with us,” said Andersson. “We just want them to be able to make up their own minds about these issues outside of what the mainstream media and their parents are telling them.

For information on how to become more active, visit the Office of Student Life, or look on Pipeline for a list of HPU organizations, or visit www.uspirg.org, or www.jobsthatmatter.org, or search for different activities you can participate in to make your voice heard.

 

 

 

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