“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
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.