Activism in higher education has a long history going back to the 1930s, starting with opposition to the military, racial discrimination, and support for labor unions. Nowadays, on-campus activism is widespread and research shows that student activism can disrupt taken-for-granted norms by providing more context to campus leaders on what is important to students, creating a symbiotic relationship.
In this episode, we speak with three different people who have practiced activism within the higher education system. First, we will hear about Sebastian Andrews, an undergrad at Stanford, and how the university nurtured his existing interest in environmental policy, evolving his activism skills even further. Then we speak with Esder Chong, a dreamer who went to college not wanting to be an activist. But when challenged, she grew her activist skills and her network, so she could get resources and legal aid for other DACA students at her university. Last, we’ll hear from Miriam “Mimi” Pichey, an activist whose work started at Brown University fifty years ago tells us how the culture of activism at Brown inspired her and her friends to generate social change on campus and in the nation.
Sebastian Andrews is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Stanford University and is an environmental policy activist from Denver, Colorado. During high school, he created Youth Sustainability Board, a student-run organization that offers teens throughout Colorado a platform to pioneer sustainability initiatives in their schools and greater communities.
Esder Chong earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Rutgers University. She recently completed her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has previously completed her Master’s in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar. During her time at Rutgers University Chong founded RU Dreamers, a student organization aimed to empower undocumented communities through education.
Miriam "Mimi" Dale Pichey attended Brown University and graduated with a concentration in her own formulation, Art and Archaeology. At Brown, she was heavily involved in political activism on campus and in the Providence community. She later earned an M.B.A. at Boston University. Throughout her career, Pichey has remained involved in activism, continuing to support anti-war movements, women’s rights, gay rights, environmental issues, and civil rights including anti-deportation