Why The 2016 Elections Matter For Undergraduates At BC

This past week, student-driven campaigns for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders have emerged on Boston College’s campus. The Clinton campaign, which is not a registered student organization (RSO), but is instead housed under the parent organization College Democrats, hosted an event featuring members of the national campaign that attracted students from across Boston. The Sanders campaign is also not a registered student organization, and it aims to attract student support by way of social media.

In particular, the event for Clinton supporters around Boston is significant for its location at BC, rather than one of the more activism-focused universities, like Tufts University or Harvard University. Students from several Boston-area schools showed up to discuss the efforts at their various schools to support Clinton. The battle of Comm. Ave. was paused, albeit briefly, in order to convene for Hillary.

Since last winter, there has been a discernable shift on campus regarding activism. Prior to the die-in and climate justice-related protests of last semester, there were not as many visible displays of alignment with a particular party. This, however, shows that despite the label of political apathy often assigned to younger generations, a shift in the campus climate is possible. The move toward campaigning for various candidates—there is also a BC chapter for Martin O’Malley—shows that change can be pushed for on a college campus at the national level.

Right now, the prominent activists on campus are for the Democratic candidates. This is not entirely unexpected—young, college-educated people tend to be more liberal. But, there is a definite conservative element at BC, and those students have not yet made a visible effort to enact a campaign for any of the Republican candidates.

The effort these students are making for the Clinton and Sanders campaign, though the campaigns are not registered student organizations, ought to be copied by those students with other agendas as well.

Political activism on college campuses is nothing new, but physical efforts for change on BC’s campus are a more recent development. The push for national change being made by these students indicates an admirable effort to look past the changes that can be made on campus, to the changes that can be made on a national level.

Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff

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