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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Clubs most effective in bringing change

Published: September 1, 2006
Section: Opinions

As the fall semester begins, the Student Union is holding elections for a number of open seats in our student government. However, the average political neophyte does not know that our student government is much like our country's: full of bureaucracy. Any student who legitimately cares about Brandeis and the student body's wellbeing is best served by working within a club.
Groups and individuals who pursue their ideas independently of our student governing body are more apt to meet success than those who do. The issue of the lack of AIDS testing on campus is a case-and-point example. The Health Center's opposition to AIDS testing arguably would have never come to light had it not been for dedicated students in the Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) club. Their efforts resulted in a free AIDS testing day for students on campus and barrage of complaints from the student body directed towards Health Services. Although the end result of free testing on campus has not been accomplished, awareness has been raised and the administration has been put under extreme pressure.
Another group, the Fair Trade Brigade (FTB) raised significant awareness around the issue of fair trade coffee and other food products around campus last year. After a large media and postering campaign, FTB passed a referendum to make all coffee sales on campus fair trade coffee. Thanks to the wide margin of victory, the administration listened to the student's demands and proceeded to make most coffee sales on campus fair trade.
As a message to the class of 2010: the biggest difference you can make at Brandeis is by joining a club that you care about. Interested in getting a green dorm on campus? Join the environmental club (SEA). Care about Coca-cola's labor practices and banning their soda from campus? Join RSA. You can make a difference, you just need to attack the issues appropriately.