Throughout the country many college students are becoming involved with activism in one way or another.
Activism has become a controversial issue among people across the age span. Here at the University of Rhode Island, Robert Vincent of the Center for Student Leadership Development is breeding the next wave of young activists. In his class “Leadership for Social Change,” under the Human Development and Family Studies College, he teaches students about identity groups and perform in a semester-long activist project.
Vincent described activism as a, “Tactic used to get, not just your point across, but to also make change the best you can.” Activism to him is all about bringing forth change.
However, activism is not just about one person, or one person carrying the banner. Vincent argued that it should be about bringing forth change for the group. Good activism involves bringing people together and engaging in open dialogues to understand ideas together.
Vincent said the best leaders who engage in activism are people who are open to discussion, not people who draw a line in the sand. In order to be a good leader, you not only need to be open but also need to also have a reflex for the cause.
“I’m not sure that people always take a class for the right reason, join an organization for the right reasons, or go into professions for the right reasons,” said Vincent, “You have to find a passion. Once you find that you are you at your best.”
Leadership for Social Change is not just a class, but also a leadership lab. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, where Tuesdays are discussions and Thursdays are working on creating a project that advocates for an identity group. Many of the past projects have worked with bully prevention, elderly isolation, autism, sexual orientation rights and body images.
One of the most notable projects to emerge from the class has been “a mentorship based community service organization that strives to mentor and support young men of diverse backgrounds,” Brothers on A New Direction (BOND).