Why students should speak up

A college is not a college without its students; valuing our opinions, beliefs and suggestions can shape our university experience, but we may feel intimidated by those on a pedestal. 

It is both normal and expected to find concerns within our college. It’s the place we go to nearly every day of the week, the place we learn, the place we grow, but every person walking through the hallways at Minnesota State is different. Our needs are different, but our needs can’t be met without speaking up. 

An important element to enriching a university is diverse perspectives. The individual views we have toward our university are prized; they transcend critical thinking, communication and understanding with one another as a college community. 

Tying into the community aspect, most of us want to be heard. We want to be seen. We want somewhere to feel included. Speaking out for change brings people together. We can find common interest with those who agree with us, and it makes it easier to break the initial discouragement of expressing an opinion. 

Speaking up also helps us advocate for ourselves in our future endeavors. The real world is intimidating, but we have the ability to create change or come to compromise over certain situations. Beginning to speak out on a smaller scale, whether it’s reaching out to a professor, the president or other faculty in-between, is effective in strengthening our trust in our words. 

Speaking out against something can be difficult, but the key components are preparation and confidence. We do the research, practice with our peers and lay the groundwork for resolving a dispute. Then, we approach with intelligence, certainty and a smile. Treat it as a conversation, and work to find middle ground rather than expecting the hoped outcome. 

The place where we receive our education is not only a learning experience in the classroom, but it is also where we learn from one another. By speaking up we can begin to challenge the norm, build relationships on common ground, and draw awareness about complex subjects. We have the ability to create a ripple effect by being the initial touch of reform, and by speaking up as students we can be a part of growing and improving our university.

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