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Students should feel empowered to make, bring attention to change in community

Protesters, students and media fill Traditions Plaza during a press conference following the Concerned Students 1950 protest on Monday, Nov. 9 2015, in Columbia, Mo.

A simple look at the national news from the past few weeks will show that student activism can make a change. If you explore how that change happens, you will see how students created social activism for decades.

The recent change in Mizzou occurred because the school's football team and a large group of students spoke out. Although this feat should be commended, we feel that every student should be encouraged to speak up regardless of their university affiliation. 

At times, ASU’s huge student body plays to our advantage, but when you’re walking through campus and hardly ever seeing the same face twice, it is difficult to connect with such an overwhelming crowd.

Despite these challenges, even a small part of our individual energies can add up and make a huge difference. If we each direct our energy into solving issues on a personal, individual level each day, we can slowly create a critical mass to make change happen. Even a single interaction to make another student feel more welcome on campus can make a difference in our student body.

The LGBT community is another movement that needs attention on ASU’s campus. The fact that LGBT people have only one center in the Phoenix area to represent themselves as a community is shocking. Even the fact that they need this center to feel accepted says something about our acceptance of minority groups. We need to put our efforts into making each individual within this community feel more accepted, and yelling at the protester in front of the Memorial Union isn't a good use of our time or energy.

This past spring, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students marched through the Tempe campus to bring attention to the fact that they weren't allowed to pay in-state tuition for students who applied for documentation under this plan. In May, a change was made when the Arizona Board of Regents granted in-state tuition for these students, after years of organizing and petitioning for the privilege to pay in-state tuition. This move saves DACA students thousands of dollars a year and gives many a chance to receive a once unreachable college education.allows for the opportunity for further academic success.

The students that protested, along with the organization DreamZONE, whose “primary objective is to create inclusive and supportive campus environments conducive to the educational success of undocumented students,” created a positive difference in the student body.

In May, an anti-Muslim protest took place in front of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where opposing sides gathered. One side commendably preached for acceptance of all religions, and the other was full of Xenophobic hatred. It ended without violence or any major incident, but there did not seem to be any lasting movement, or any major further conversation surrounding the issue. 

Along with these issues, we know that there are different issues and concerns on each Sun Devil’s mind, but everyone should feel more included on campus. If there is something on your mind that you feel needs attention, please let The State Press know. We’re part of this campus, and we believe in bringing attention to problems so community members can make positive change happen.

If you don’t believe there is any major issue affecting you, we urge you to try and solve issues on an individual level by having the difficult conversations, going out of your way to be more accepting of one another and joining forces to make campus a more welcoming place. 

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

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