Recently I asked ten students to reflect on their relationship to the word activism. Here’s a glimpse into their thoughts.
ACTIVIST – it’s complicated
The word “activist” carries a lot of weight.
When I was younger, it maybe looked more “clean cut.” Now I see how activism is, can be, should be, as part of my whole life’s being.
I think of protests, which no matter what, give me anxiety, even if I support the initiative greatly.
I strive to not make activism a hobby but a way of living.
I know that I want my involvements, classes, education, and relationships to promote activist causes, but I don’t entirely feel like I’ve done anything to deserve an “activist” label.
I don’t think of myself as not an activist either. I am something in between.
Activism is something to strive for.
Activism: the thing that makes me whole.
Activism has always been something I have aspired to carry out in my daily life.
Activism is part of my being by interacting and simply existing and challenging norms.
Does that mean I’m not an activist because I’m only talking about my identities?
I don’t really identify with the word activist. I care deeply about a lot of issues, but I can choose to be done with a cause at any point and many people don’t have that option.
Being an activist has created a shell for me. When I fix others’ problems, I don’t have to acknowledge my own.
Activism has a long history on university campuses, including William & Mary, and the legacy of student-powered social change continues. The Office of Community Engagement, Student Leadership Development, and Student Unions & Engagement, in consultation with student leaders and activists, gathered resources for activism and advocacy at William & Mary. On our resource page you’ll find W&M policies related to expression, public posting, and use of space; a list of W&M policy and decision-makers; student activist toolkits; wellness resources, and more.
What’s the role of activism in your life? Are there other resources you would suggest for our guide?