KSC students who are passionate about activism have recently been working to create their own club on campus.
Senior sociology major and international relations minor Maggie Mason began the Activism Club at Keene State.
“We haven’t done executive board elections yet, but when we do [in the very near future], I plan to run for president. Although there’s a solid group of students working on making this group become an official club, I’ve been leading the majority of it. I brought the idea to the table, organized students I knew would be interested, started a Facebook group and got us together planning events last semester and then got everyone’s opinion for meeting times this semester and set that up,” Mason said.
The group has been pulling together all of the elements to be able to become an official club recognized by the college.
According to Mason, “We have an official group of people, a constitution for the club and Fred Taylor has agreed to be our adviser. Our next and final step is proposing it to Student Government which we plan to do in the upcoming couple of weeks. I can’t imagine why our proposal would be denied, so I am confident in saying that we will be an official club by the end of the semester.”
Being a sociology major, Mason said there are many things in society that she would like to see change.
“I want a country where my friends of color aren’t oppressed or discriminated against [and] where people in the LGBTQ community are comfortable being themselves without fear of violence or hatred from peers. I want a society and a country that doesn’t deny facts like climate change,” Mason said.
She continued, “I want every community to actually feel like a community, where neighbors know each other and people say, ‘hi’ as they pass each other on the sidewalk. I don’t want there to be fear or hatred among people just because their views differ, and I want everyone to be accepted as they are for who they are.”
Mason plans to make a difference as much as she can.
“Since the inauguration, I have spent time each day calling senators and the White House, making complaints about different things happening. I’m planning on actively voting and participating in politics more than I ever have before. I’m planning on keeping everything peaceful and protesting as much as possible, going to as many events as possible and staying alert of what’s going on around me,” Mason said.
Keene State junior Joseph Stallcop recently was elected as a state representative for New Hampshire. He said Mason is the “fearless leader.” Stallcop is able to be the liaison between the group and the State House.
“I’m going to be keeping people aware with things as soon as I hear them, as well as getting involved when I can,” Stallcop said.
Senior English major Liesl Miller is proud to be an active participant in this group of students.
She said the individuals promote a sense of equality and group leadership.
“I believe it’s important to have an Activist Club on campus because there are a myriad of different issues students care about and the Activist Club helps turn ideas into concrete goals and events,” Miller said.
Miller said the group organized events last semester focusing on environmental protection, and especially standing with Standing Rock. “We held a few small rallies here in Keene and traveled to a larger rally in Washington D.C. on Human Rights Day, and some of our group members even got the chance to go to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to protest on the ground. This semester, we’re focusing on getting our club to be official, as well as organizing events for certain causes,” Miller said.
The club started as a positive response to the increase of fear-mongering and division currently in the United States according to Miller. She said she feels people feel lost and scared about the promises the government has made.
“The Activist Club felt the need to take a stand against injustice and hate. I think Keene State College has a great group of students, faculty and alumni that care a lot about education, and the foundation for any movement is being informed,” Miller said.
Miller said she would like to see several changes in our society.
“ I’d like to see the poverty situation in our society addressed, I’d like to see a serious decrease in violence and hate speech against people of color, I’d like to see equal opportunity for all men and women and children [and] I’d like to see our energy system transform into something much more sustainable and less harmful to the environment,” Miller said.
She continued and said, “Overall, I’d like for us to be emboldened by our diversities and tear down the walls that separate us, rather than build them up.”
Mason said she needs to stop stressing about the fact that she can’t save the world, but rather that she can make people smile everyday and that is something she plans to focus on.
“I’m planning on spreading as much love and good vibes as I possibly can. I got really overwhelmed the other day after Trump signed off on a whole lot of things that I don’t agree with. I felt so hopeless, like there was literally nothing I could do and a friend reminded me that I do things every day about the circles of people in my life who I positively impact every day in some way,” Mason said.
The club meets on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Flag Room of the student center and the current members encourage anyone and everyone to go.
Emma Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org