As students, we are the spokespeople for the future generations. In recent years student activism has become an essential aspect of student life; however, this is not a new phenomenon. During the 1960s there was an upsurge in youth activism. During this period protests were held all around the globe on a variety of issues, including civil rights, poverty and war. Student activism has influenced political events and brought about change.
Greta Thunberg is one student activist that the majority of the world is familiar with. Although she has only just started university, Greta has become the voice of the youth concerning climate change. As one of the leading climate activists in the world, Greta Thunberg has inspired the youth of the world to join protests and fight for the future of the world.
Today, 15 October, is UN World Student Day, a day in which we pay honour to the students of the world. Students across the globe are becoming leading young activists on a variety of issues. Student activists strive to make the world a better place, using their education to help them achieve this goal.
As the co-executive director of Zero-Hour, climate activist and New York University student, Jame Margolin, has her plate full. Although only 18 years old, Jamie has founded a youth climate coalition, organised national climate marches and written a book. She has testified and lobbied at a state and federal level on the urgent need for climate action.
Jamie was the leading force in starting the climate youth protests around the world, which have since become known as Fridays for Future. One month after the first Zero Hour marches of 2018, Greta Thunberg began her climate strike. Together, Jamie and Greta have gone on to speak at conventions and gather worldwide attention on the issue of climate change.
Before enrolling at Ohio State University, Ose Arheghan discovered that LGBTQ+ students faced discrimination and bullying in schools and other education facilities. This, combined with the lack of laws and resources, led Ose to start speaking out for the LGBTQ+ community.
They have lobbied for statewide policies against LGBTQ+ discrimination along with campaigning for access to sexual health education. As a student of Ohio State University, they advocate for transgender rights and reproductive justice. Ose has been honoured at multiple LGBTQ+ organisations for their tireless work and achievements.
As a student activist against the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government, Drew Pavlou has faced a lot of criticism. As a student of the University of Queensland in Australia, Drew has been suspended from the university for two years because of his pro-Hong Kong democracy stance.
As a student activist, Drew organised a series of protests supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. Drew has received national and international attention from the media and other pro-democracy advocates around the world. He continues to promote democratic values and human rights despite being suspended from the university.
Charitie is an Indigenous student at Columbia University who is an outspoken indigenous student activist. As a member of the Native Village of Kongiganak, Alaska, Charitie never saw a member of the indigenous communities mentioned in the coursework during her primary and secondary education. She grew tired of her community being erased from history and vowed to make a change.
She learned that indigenous students had the highest dropout rate in America, and she felt that this was due to the lack of representation in education. She encourages other indigenous students to speak out about the lack of representation, and have their voices heard. During her work as a student activist, Charitie has created some change within the current Alaska studies curriculum.
As a journalism student and Black Lives Matter protest organiser at City University London, Malaika Gangooly calls for an end to racial discrimination. She has organised protests where other student activists stand in solidarity in the fight against systemic racism.
Along with her team, she is currently in the process of creating materials for secondary schools which will teach black history. She hopes that this, along with the worldwide support for an end to racial discrimination, will bring about change. Although she has received racial backlash for her commitment to the cause, Malaika is continuing to fight against inequality in the UK and across the world.
Amongst one of the most outspoken student activists on gun control, Emma González is one of the founders and organisers of the March for Our Lives. As a survivor of the Parkland shooting in 2018, Emma and other survivors have launched the largest youth movement against gun violence of all time. As part of this movement, she has ignited an international conversation surrounding gun violence.
Through her work as a student activist on the topic, Emma has made the world take notice of the consequences of gun violence and lack of gun control. She has spoken at many events and conferences, urging politicians and lawmakers to fix this problem so that future mass shootings don’t occur.