One of the best places to advocate for something you care about is in college. There are so many opportunities and interest groups for you to get involved in. A lot of people become very passionate about certain issues in college as they start becoming more knowledgeable about problems in the world. This is the time in which we are most idealistic and enthusiastic about our ability to make changes in the world around us.
It is important that when you get to college you don’t just become one of those students that complains about issues, but never makes an effort to change the problems. Advocating for causes can be an extremely rewarding experience. You may even find many other people that are concerned with the same issues as you are and they can help you with the cause.
One way you can advocate for something you care about is by starting a club. When I came to college, I started becoming more interested in certain efforts to cure diseases. At the end of my freshman year, I had the idea of starting a club to raise awareness about cure foundations. Eventually, I changed that idea into a reality. During my sophomore year, I began seriously planning out the fine details of starting a club. I met with faculty members, and this year I actually got a club called Care to Cure approved. This has been very rewarding to me and has instilled many leadership qualities in me.
Another thing you can do is sell t-shirts! I’m not exactly sure why, but college students (including myself) love t-shirts. You never feel like you can have enough t-shirts when you are in college. If you want to raise money or awareness about something, a great way to do so is to design a t-shirt and sell them in the Kindlon Hall of Learning. As people pass by to class, you can try to get your point across and make money to donate.
Bracelets are a great way to make money for donations as well. Plus, you can personalize them with a message that is important to you. I am part of Best Buddies at Benedictine and we are currently selling bracelets that say “ Spread the word to end the word.” This is an effort to get people to stop using the r-word. This is something that is very important to me because I have a best buddy, Brian. He has Down syndrome and the r-word can be very hurtful to Brian and other people with disabilities. Selling bracelets for only a few dollars can add up and spread a message.
Host events. Find out what types of events students at your school seem to like the most. Maybe it’s movie nights, dances, comedy shows or even a bags tournament. Keep an eye out for the events that seem to be the most successful on campus and create something similar that revolves around the cause you are advocating for. You can use the event purely for raising awareness or you can even charge a small entrance fee to raise money.
Make use of technology, too. The majority of college students use Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. Reach out to people on those sites and ask them to join your cause. I have posted links to sign up for walks, posted statuses about club meetings or events and put up pictures from events. These things seem to be very effective because you can get large numbers of people to view your posts.
You can also create petitions for people to sign. There are large numbers of people at a university that you can ask to sign petitions for something you care about. This is a quick way to get a lot of names and people usually don’t mind taking a few seconds out of their day to sign something. This requires a lot less effort than trying to get students to go to events.
Be creative. You don’t always have to follow the exact same path as leaders of groups before you. See what works and don’t be afraid to try things out. Create fun, new events that you think you yourself would be interested in. All in all, just make sure you are involved in the things you care about when you get to college. This is the easiest time to be involved because you have access to a large, diverse group of people.