I am a part of an organization called APE, Alliance for Planet Earth, here on campus, and through APE I have had the opportunity to stand up for issues I believe are important and help raise awareness on campus. Most recently, I tabled in cougar mall and helped students sign petitions to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. At our table we not only had the link and website for people to sign the petition, but we also had contact information for our South Carolina politicians so we could contact them and voice our opinions. In such big widespread national issues such as the DAPL, voicing your input and strong opinions to officials that are meant to represent you is crucial. They are the voices that are heard at the end of the day, and when enough concerned citizens contact them on an issue they react.
The reactions I received for people were very across the board and all interesting. I personally only got one person with an outright negative reaction who was in favor of the DAPL, but other than him I got a response of either enthusiasm or a cold shoulder. I believe that the students who gave us the cold shoulder didn’t do so because they had no opinion on the matter, but because going out of their way or changing their routine to discuss something with people they don’t know is too unfamiliar. I can’t say that I wouldn’t be intimidated by someone tabling and trying to get people to come over. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t given the cold shoulder to other tables that have tried to bring me in. But how do we break this urge to ignore instead of interact?
But all and all the turn out was successful, and in higher numbers that we had anticipated. And knowing that I may have made the tiniest impact on an issue I believe in is an amazing feeling!