Activism: how to get involved and get your voice heard during a pandemic.
Three in five students want to participate in activism, so we’ve come up with ways to stand tall for the causes you care about, from the comfort of your Covid-safe home. If you want to know how to become a protester in the Covid-era, then check out everything you need to know here. The pandemic won’t divert our attention away from what matters to us.
Firstly, what is activism?
Activism can be thought of as any actions that seek to reach a goal. Some examples of student activism include campaigning for political leaders to reduce their carbon footprint, silent protests to get companies to stop testing their products on animals, or signing petitions or sharing content on social media, as seen during the BLM protests, to bring about change.
The old saying runs true: actions speak louder than words. This is a particularly effective way of protest that you can practise at all times. Here are some examples of companies that have recently been in the headlines, and some tips on how you can rise up against these corporations.
Just discovered your favourite milk brand, not to name names, actually contributes to rainforestation? What?! The oat milk brand that shall not be named- shareholder Blackstone linked to rainforest deforestation. If you’re going vegan, you’re doing it for the natural world and the animals. You don’t want to hear that the milk you’ve chosen to drink has been tainted with deforestation. That can leave a horrible taste in the mouths of the environmentally-conscious. So, what can you do to fight against this in a socially-distanced world? Boycott the brand. Share your outrage with an informative post on your social media, or retweet or share someone else’s complaint post. When the brand’s demand, and subsequent profits, begin to drop they will start to listen to their consumers. Greenwashing out, responsible sourcing in.
You can also take your boycotting efforts one step further by openly taking your business elsewhere. Don’t get tempted by the cheap pitchers and curry club on a Thursday; instead, support local businesses who have struggled through the pandemic and who have maintained good relationships with their staff.
Of course, one of the greatest ways of getting your voice heard, and counted for, is through voting. If you’re in the UK, then the next general election isn’t for a few years but that shouldn’t stop you from getting clued up about your government and how you feel about their practices. How do they deal with public health crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, or trade deals with other nations? Keep up-to-date with the news so you’re ready to make your vote count when the time is right. Although the next GE is a long, long way away, remember you can also still join a political party and vote on party, regional and local issues. Campaign now. Be active. Find your tribe.
We understand how important it is to stand up for what you believe in. You can still be politically engaged during the pandemic, despite the challenges that social distancing and lockdown pose. You told us that the top three social causes that matter the most to you right now are mental health, racism and sexism/gender equality. Remember, it all starts with awareness. From then, you can harness the power of social media to turn up the volume about these issues. Getting involved in local and community activist groups will also encourage socialisation, albeit virtual, which you told us has become difficult during lockdown.
This lockdown, you can also get involved in peaceful activist projects. Check out this article, which details all of the activities you can do to boost your activist efforts as a student, in addition to helping you feel good and managing your mental health.
So, what are you waiting for? Get clued up and find a cause that matters to you. Social media is only a click away, so be part of the change.
If you want to get involved in our student panel to have your opinions heard by institutions across the country, then sign up today - you’ll receive a £10 voucher just for signing up.