The times in which we live have seen awelcomed rekindling of socio-political activity and expression, as is visible throughout campus. One group may distribute ribbons or armbands, while another may promote itself by setting up a table in a public spot. Still others devote whole days of events to demonstrate and bolster support. Yet too often causes and arguments are merely presented, instead of explained thoroughly to those they wish to convince.
Recently, however, there has been a happy exception to the rule of rhetoric over information. Students for Leftist Action, or SLA, found a way to do justice to promotional events by hosting a teach-in regarding Wal-Mart’s labor abuses. The idea behind this event is an admirable one, to be emulated. Instead of blindly accepting or disregarding the group’s opinions on the issues, Lawrence students had the opportunity to form a more sound basis for argument. Unfortunately, when compared to the frequency of methods such as random ribbon distribution at Downer, this approach is too atypical.
If more student groups took the teach-in as an example, perhaps student involvement wouldn’t be as much of a problem on campus. And so, we extend this challenge to every student group: be sure to educate the masses instead of just sending them out to brandish a ribbon without the information to support it. Explain the cause, teach others why you believe in it, and show them why they should be just as fervent about it as you are. Certainly, not everyone will be convinced, but those who are will be more than mere walking billboards – they will be future educators of others.