North American college students have many advantages and disadvantages that shape their capacity for creating alliances with other social movements outside the boundaries of the campus.
The advantages that North American college students have when creating alliances between social movements fall into three categories: general, academic, and logistics. Generally, students come to college with a goal of discovering their place in the world. “People join the movement not only to take action but to feel alive and find out who they are.” (Boyd, 156) Because of this, students are more apt to be open minded and willing to participate in a social movement because it will teach them about themselves. Many college campuses strive to create a diverse environment, be it religious, ethnic, or political differences. These differences enrich the possibility for social movements and provide stimulating dialogue in which people soon become personally invested.
The mere fact that one is a North American college student is an advantage because they are receiving a college education in one of the most powerful countries in the world. College students live in an intelligent community which strives for higher knowledge. Academically, students learn about injustices and ways of helping fix them. This knowledge, for some, mandates action. The most compelling courses contain material that is applicable to daily life. College students often learn about a topic in class and continue their education of the topic outside of class. Students become impassioned by class material, which adds to their commitments to social movements. College campuses are rich in resources. They provide libraries, professors who have studied topic ...
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...s. A large break through in the Students Against Sweatshops campaign came when they started, “visiting factories and establishing relationships with workers throughout Central America and Asia, as well as working with union and living wage campaigns locally.” (Featherstone, 13) It is important to maintain the global perspective and continue to strive for a better world, for everyone. A panel of academic experts in 1948 stated, “Genuine world prosperity is indivisible. It cannot last in one part of the world if the other parts live under conditions of poverty and ill health.” (Escobar, 382) The discrepancy will cause people to retaliate. “When protest, especially violent protest is present, we will find uprooted, marginal, and disorganized people.” (Robbins, 282) It is the job of the students, acting as an intellectual, to use their knowledge for the good of humanity.
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