Campus activism in Madison is nationally recognized

· Sep 11, 2001 Tweet

UW activists are among the loudest and most prolific in the United States, according to a recent study published in Mother Jones Magazine’s September issue.

According to the article in the social justice-oriented magazine, UW ranks as the 10th most active school in the country.

Just in Library Mall, students can stumble across speeches by prominent politicians such as Jesse Jackson, fiery abortion debates and much more.

This year, UW was placed on the list based on its large student support for the environment. 9,000 students — more than one-fifth the student population — signed on to Ecopledge, vowing not to work for or purchase from a list of corporations targeted for their poor environmental record.

Hogan said Coca-Cola is just one of many companies, with City Group, BP Amoco, Disney and Nestle included on the list.

“Ten years ago Coca-Cola failed to follow through with a promise to use 25 percent recycled products in their bottles,” said Christina Hogan, co-coordinator of Ecopledge.

Hogan said Ecopledge started in 2000 at the E-Conference in Washington to help students choose employers who are environment-friendly.

Ecopledge is only one example of political activism on campus. A campus’ activism rating is based on criteria accumulated through contact with each school’s student organizations, demographic studies, diversity and the school’s overall size.

“The most important criteria we use is the significance of the action taken by the students and the overall affect it has,” Mother Jones editor Richard Reynolds said.

UW ranked third when the list was first published in 1994. Mother Jones revises the list annually.

That year, a number of UW students and children dressed in Halloween costumes depicting endangered species to express support of maintaining nature and protecting the nation’s wildlife.

UW is notorious for being a liberal school with a strong, politically-involved student population. For example, throughout the years, Madison has stirred with political activists as political candidates visit the city. Presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Al Gore were only two of the many Madison visitors during the 2000 election. Venues such as the Orpheum Theater, 216 State St., were filled to capacity during the political visits, primarily with students.

Because of Madison’s liberal tradition, protests are not uncommon. UW has 900 registered student organizations. Many of these are politically oriented, such as the Pre-Law Society, the Supreme Court Club, Coalition for Choice, The Young Democrats, and Model United Nations.
“This university is more actively involved by the students through ASM, environmental organizations and other student extracurricular activities than any other university I’ve seen,” said Associated Students of Madison Chair Jessica Miller, who was surprised to hear that UW was ranked only 10th on the list.

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This article was published Sep 11, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 11, 2001 at 12:00 am

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