When I first moved to Austin, I was quite amazed at how active students at UT Austin were when it came to civic engagement. Even to this day, I sometimes am still amazed. To me, civic engagement was a subject that I wasn’t too familiar with, so it was extremely shocking when I saw students my age being engaged and trying to make a change by taking matters into their own hands.
Being from Waco, a very,very small town located in the heart of Texas, I never really had the opportunity to be actively involved in any protests or marches. I was also too young to vote. However, once I moved to Austin, everything changed. Austinites were involved. Protests, Marches, you name it.
The first protest I’ve experienced was one related to the new Texas campus concealed carry law. The next protest was one regarding the 2016 Presidential elections, then I saw the “Not My President” protest, the Women’s March, and most recently, the protest against Professor Morrisett.
However, while taking a class entitled Participatory Democracy, I learned that there was more to civic engagement then just protest and marches, there are so many ways to be civically engaged!
Some of the examples could be:
Mentoring and tutoring students from elementary school through high school;
Volunteering with local organizations and restoring natural areas, parks, etc;
Campus organizations collaborating with local centers and helping those in need; or
Attending local/city/town-hall meetings and participating in local discussions.
Not only does civic engagement help out the community, but by being unified with other people around a common goal and by sacrificing time for a common purpose, civic engagement teaches people many goals and skills that are essential in our world today, all while encouraging one to develop a selfless perspective.
So why not go out and be civically engaged!