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Editorial: Fighting for change, not against

Published: October 19, 2007
Section: Opinions


For the last few weeks, while the Student Union was occupying its time bickering over the political future of Secretary Michael Goldman 08, other student organizations have been hard at work demonstrating that united, committed students can make a difference on our campus.

Students Crossing Boundaries, Students Opposing the Decision to Arm, and the Student Peace Alliance have all picked up on issues that directly affect the student body, and in a short period of time have taken great strides towards achieving their ends.

Since President Carter issued his challenge last semester to visit the West Bank, Students Crossing Borders has organized a committee to plan the visit and has secured the funds to finance the trip. Moreover, the students involved are establishing an infrastructure for future visits to areas so that students can gain a better understanding of conflict the world over, and not merely in the Middle East.

Students Opposing the Decision to Arm, meanwhile, has written a petition against arming police officers and has collected over 800 undergraduate signatures since President Reinharz announced his intentions earlier this semester. Members have also met with President Reinharz during his office hours, and are considering proposing a Student Union resolution against Reinharzs decision.

The Student Peace Alliance, only one year after its founding, has branched out to 35 college and high-school campuses and has organized a three-day long national peace conference, to take place at Brandeis, featuring a keynote address from Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.

There are some that lament the loss of Brandeis socially active identity, and who claim that Brandeis has lost the spirit that it had in the '60s, during the days of the Ford Hall takeover. We would challenge these students to take a look at what their peers are doing, because Brandeis groups are still invested in causes that they believe in, and causes that will affect the rest of the campus community. Though a drastic course of action like the Ford Hall takeover may never happen again, students are still working passionately in their own ways to stand up for a number of noble causes.

All it takes on this campus to begin an activist organization is some time, a commitment, and the willingness to find others who feel strongly about the same thing. While many have asserted that students at Brandeis are largely apathetic, one could not deny that there are plenty of hard-working individuals who are actively involved in their community.

Activism does not mean aggressively targeting fellow students, however, or infighting over personal differences. Rather, activism is about making promises and following through with them. Activism is caring enough about a cause to dedicate the time and effort into its resolution. These groups have done just that.