Addressing Inequality on Campus

by Laurel Fish ‘14, on behalf of the Stanford Labor Action Coalition

With Stanford’s generous financial aid policies and all-you-care-to-eat meal plans, it’s easy to think that inequality ends when we step onto campus. We tutor in East Palo Alto, travel to Central America, host speakers from off campus, and volunteer in free clinics in order to experience “the real world.” What many forget however, is that poverty, inequality, and other unfair realities of “the real world” exist on our campus. The postcard visage of the Stanford Bubble is serviced, maintained, cooked, pruned, and repaired by workers.

Stanford workers are essential to our lives, but how many of us know their names, whether they have a manageable workload, or whether they make enough money to support their families? Yet more important than individual recognition, is institutional responsibility. Continue Reading

TODAY: Occupy the Future

Attend the Occupy the Future Teach-In, Rally,
and Public Forum TODAY, December 9th!

[see below for complete schedule of events]

Continue Reading

Students: Occupy the Future

by Rahael Gupta, ’12

Snow is falling in New York City. The NYPD forcefully cleared Zucotti Park last week. Protests sites all over the country have seen instances of violence and crime. The Occupy Movement is reaching a crossroads.

An impressive number of people have taken to the streets in the Movement’s name. Yet it remains to be seen how effective Occupy will actually be, with regard to driving the real structural change necessary to mitigate the recent surge in income inequality. Currently, protesters have organized themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion. They are diametrically opposed to involvement in electoral politics, and to traditional methods of effecting change.

This stance has served the movement well, because there is no figurehead for the police to negotiate with and for the media to berate with tough questions. Protesters rightly argue that their rejection of a vertical power structure and unspecific demands have allowed their following to become so large. It is appropriate at this time, however, to consider how the movement needs to further develop, such that it truly has teeth and is a real movement, as opposed to a string of heated protests. Continue Reading

Diversity in Higher Education

Just 8% of students from low-income communities will graduate from college by age 24.  What about the 92 percent?

In a money-driven world with college consultants, SAT prep classes, and paid tutors, the college admissions process has become almost a science that is rigged for the wealthy.  Students from affluent communities apply to colleges en masse with their enriched extracurricular activities, perfect GPAs, and high SAT scores.

For a student coming from an underserved community, the college application is an arduous process that can be overwhelming with the Common Application, exam submissions, and cycle of deadlines.  Without a guide, students can become lost and frustrated by the lack of support from their guidance counselor, family, and community.  Mostly in low-income communities, it is a harsh reality that there is only one guidance counselor for every 1,000 students in California.  There aren’t even enough hours in a day for a counselor to meet and explain the application process thoroughly.  How can we as Stanford students help expand college admissions resources?

The Phoenix Scholars is a free mentorship program that helps first-generation, low-income, and/or minority students rise into college. Continue Reading

Roll out for Intersections!

Intersections Week 2011 will explore the relationship between LGBTQ and racial identities. Each event was carefully designed to be open, accessible, and meaningful to all attendees. This is a week for us to delve into our differences and our similarities as activists and as people. If we as a student body could roll out at 4 a.m. in the name of college football, let’s roll out for addressing and ending oppression on our campus and beyond!

Dear President Obama…

This letter was originally posted at the Stanford Undergraduate Sustainability Scholars blog.

Introduction

Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS) is a project-based student group concerned with addressing sustainability in all its forms on Stanford’s campus, with sub-groups dedicated to water, waste, climate, and environmental justice issues. With President Obama set to approve or reject the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline by the end of the year, the SSS Outreach team is campaigning on campus to involve the Stanford community in this national issue. Below is a letter written by outreach leaders Judee Burr, Noemi Wazlebuck, and Akwasi Abrefah and signed by concerned Stanford community members.  We challenge our President to support the well-being of the American people over large corporate interests and reject the measure to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. Join us this Friday, 3pm at Columbae to discuss these issues! Contact sssoutreachaction@gmail.com with questions or to join our anti-pipeline campaign.

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Dear President Obama,

We are writing to you as members of Students for a Sustainable Stanford and as concerned citizens of the United States. We are asking you to take a stand for the well-being of the American people – block the measure to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. Continue Reading