student activism

   President Spanier made an interesting point last Monday that at most colleges today you would be hard pressed to find a student lead demonstration or rally involving more than 60 people.

   I’ve thought about this often, and I wonder how recent the decline in organized student activism is, and how much of it can be attributed to the advent of the World Wide Web.

   With so many outlets for freedom to speak our opinions, perhaps today’s students aren’t motivated to voice their social frustrations because they feel like their opinions are already being heard. Unfortunately, it is my opinion that the larger public is less inclined to care about the ramblings of the millions of bloggers and tweeters than it is to pay attention to the marches and sit-ins of previous generations.

   From a philosophical perspective, what we’re observing is Aristotle’s fictional rhetorical situation; that the writer perceives his audience to be larger than it actually is (due to the anonymity of the internet). The problem is that it satisfies the writer’s/blogger’s/tweeter’s own desire to be heard, but not really accomplishing a whole lot.

   Still, PSU probably does better than most.


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