A Student Activist Movement

 

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Asti White, Contributing Writer, Non-Profit Leadership/Entrepreneurship and Servant Leadership, ’17

The student leaders who are represented in Transformational Leadership have gone to great extremes listening to the voices of students and gathering data that we find beneficial for the life of LaGrange College. It is our goal to be very specific and bring clarity to issues that students are facing. Our mission is to create a campus environment in which student voices are not only heard and recognized, but are also acted upon.

We believe that as we are doing this, students can more fully express their concerns and expose the heart of any situation. While we built our foundation around an advocacy project, we spent a lot of time considering many different avenues that we could address and what could have a true and lasting impact on all involved. The more we began processing information of what is going on around us both globally and here at LaGrange College, we began to have a clearer vision on the direction we needed to take.

As a college, we stand on pillars [civility, diversity, service, global engagement, and excellence] that depict an ethical and caring community. We stand at LaGrange College and participate in a mission for challenging the mind and inspiring the soul while the vision shows a transformative experience for students’ lives. As responsible students who live with integrity and moral courage, we are inspired to communicate effectively in order to provide growth.

 

As a group of concerned junior and senior leaders here on campus, we have been able to use this class to facilitate a dialogue with students to ask questions and receive answers. The more we heard the same responses from students, the stronger we became interested in diving deeper to see what was actually happening at the core of these issues. As we joined together and gave significant amounts of intentional observation with a heavy dose of listening, we found that specific issues were on a repetitive broken record.

LaGrange has provided opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience through the use of programs, functions, activities, in classroom experience, field experience, and traveling around the world. All of these facets are ideal for students because it provides opportunities that are not found among many other colleges. We have heard from students that they are grateful for what is provided. Yet, there are finite and specific aspects to each that have a greater effect on students.

Concentrating on the pivotal points around the on-campus experience, we went to day-time students and began conversations. We have gathered responses from over 300 students. In this information, we quickly found that similar if not identical responses grew substantially. To gain a stronger and fuller breadth of information and understanding on both sides we met with other leaders on campus. We brought in SGA representatives from the Executive Board to see if and how the procedures are in place to enable students to voice their concerns. After speaking with these leaders we learned the specific avenues that are already in place for students to share about their experiences here at LaGrange College.  

Students are often found to complain about the same three key issues: the dining experience, housing, and National services. In each personal answer, there was gravity, possibilities, and solutions. Students are more interested in the quality of their experience at LaGrange rather than the quantity of their experiences.  

The Transformational Leadership class has provided opportunity to hearing these concerns. Now what can we do to bring solutions?

Your concerns are valid and it is important for you to make them heard. Please be adamant in contacting your SGA representatives and Dean of Students. Please think about your issue or concern on all levels and explain its severity  and why your concern matters.

Let us not set a bar for mediocrity. Instead, let us all strive for excellence in each arena that we participate in at the college. As we express our concerns, let us do it in a professional manner before we present it to the leaders on campus. Let us not be confined in our thoughts or ways of what is before us, but instead explore new creative ways to bring the entire LaGrange College experience to a place of transparency on all levels. Transparency requires all parts of the college to work together through communicating clearly to find the best and most equitable solution.

As there are many components to a college campus, we can think of the campus being like a machine with lots of parts. A machine requires regular maintenance and most importantly a machine requires oil between every facet for the machine to operate properly. Making strides to a campus culture of continuous communication with other students, staff, faculty, and higher administration can be beneficial to all.

 

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