This archived article was written by: Frank Saccommanno
Do college students have a voice? In a time of technological advances and social media, people are more outspoken and heard than in any other time in history. With the click of a button, one can send their opinion to millions of people. People can find what they are interested in with the click of a button. Never in history have people been able to directly connect with celebrities or politicians. The use of social media allows everybody to have the ability to share their opinion.
In this ever-changing technological climate, people of all ages have the ability to share their opinion. While some people’s posts only find themselves with a low number of shares, there are those who can reach massive audiences with a single post. One popular example of this is Donald Trump, whose Twitter account reaches millions of people a day.
College students now have the ability, more than ever, to share their political opinions to massive audiences, but are these opinions left as a post on a website? Or can they actually push policy? First, we must go back in history to May 1970 at Ken State University. During this time, students protested the bombing of Cambodia. Many students protested the Vietnam war on the grounds that it was immoral, un-winnable, and just an intervention into another foreign affair. A student protest of this magnitude, while impactful today, may not have been back in the 70’s. Due to lack of widespread communication, this protest would have had no way to reach as many people as it would need to in order to get a change in policy.
Today, however, many students are involved in a different type of protest. While still a protest, they are not holding signs or marching, but typing and posting. If a student has an opinion about a certain policy they may tweet it or make a YouTube video. These opinions can go viral, spreading to an unimaginable number of people in just a number of days.
So, do college students have a voice? Well yes, but does it push or drive policy? Probably not. The sad reality is that policy is not driven by protest. Yes, one may be able to gather a following of people with the same opinion, but this is unlikely to make any real impact. Policy is driven by congressmen and people in high government positions. Groups can affect those people, but at the end of the day it is up to the vote of the official.
To college students everywhere; yes you have a voice, and yes you have the ability to accumulate a following. However, a following and a voice is not enough to directly drive policy, but it can contribute to the opinion of a person in congress.