Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 4, 2023

The Hopkins Energy Action Team's rally on the Beach may have proved an unfamiliar sight to the many Hopkins students soaking in the unusually mild weather this week. Our campus has rarely been attuned to mass political movements, and its state of "apathy" has often been blamed in these very pages for an inert student activism scene. But lately, thanks to the efforts of groups like HEAT and the Students Anti-Genocide Coalition, there are signs that things on the activist front are looking up. In particular, HEAT, with its inundation of weekly events and willingness to communicate with administrators and student government, should provide a model for successful strategies for engaging this campus in the big issues.

While the rally on the Beach may not have resembled a mass movement, it was a visible and well-promoted event that drew more than a few neutral eyes. HEAT has become especially adept at summing up its message concisely, and using word of mouth, as well as ubiquitous advertising, to promote its cause.

HEAT's push to involve the University, as well as the Student Council, are also steps in the right direction, particularly as previous activist groups have tended to shy away from aggressively endorsing concrete plans that ask as much of the administration as of students. HEAT's request that the University adopt a carbon-neutral policy is not only pertinent and important, but has specific actions at its core. Rather than introducing vague concepts in broad programs of promoting "awareness," the members of HEAT have successfully focused on one aspect of the battle to thwart further global warming, and, as a consequence, have given hope to students that something can be done.

Similarly, another top-notch activist organization, STAND, makes the genocide in Darfur its priority, and also pushes for concrete actions on the parts of students and the administration. The group not only sponsors various events meant to increase awareness of the crisis in Sudan, but participates in an important nationwide campaign to pressure major institutions, like this university, to divest from corporations that may contribute to conflicts in Africa.

Perhaps it seems that student activist groups only make the slightest dents in seemingly insurmountable problems. But with groups like HEAT and STAND in our midst, the habit of taking action, even in small ways, has become one that our campus can more easily adopt.

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