Social justice may or may not be a term you’re already familiar with, but at Colorado State, it’s so much more than a term. As one of our core Principles of Community, we believe that social justice is the right to be treated and the responsibility to treat others with fairness and equity. At CSU, it’s also a crucial piece of education and making the world a better place. Social justice education and work is woven into many parts of life and learning at CSU. But where can you find it? Here are five ways you can get involved with social justice at CSU as a student.
#1. Explore academics that offer social-justice education and experiences.
Want to make social justice work a core part of your college experience and bring it into your career? You might be surprised just how many academic paths you can take. You’ll find majors like Women’s and Gender Studies, which studies biases, racial and sexual discrimination, and identity and gender relations. If you major in Social Work, you’ll do learning and hands-on work with communities who are underrepresented and underserved, focusing your studies on equality, anti-oppression, and enhancing health and well-being. Ethnic Studies at CSU examines oppression within roles like gender, class, sexuality in society, and students learn to apply their knowledge by creating more-equitable workplaces, schools, and communities. If you are interested in social justice through a more-individualistic lens, Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the factors that influence emotional, social, and physical development in every stage of life. Many students in this major go onto make positive changes in fields like youth services, education, and corrections.
Want to make social justice a part of your education even if you’re committed to another major? There’s almost always room for a minor in your studies at CSU, and there are a lot of options. Among them are Ethnic Studies, Indigenous Studies, International Development, and the Role of Sustainability in Peace and Reconciliation.
#2. Get involved with student government and/or CSU clubs that center on social justice.
While CSU offers more than 450 student organizations ranging from outdoor adventure and sports clubs to academic-focused groups to arts and gaming groups (and beyond!), there are some that can help you find like-minded students who wish to learn more about contributing and exploring social justice issues. You’ll find groups for women and/or marginalized identities in the STEM fields, cultural associations to help unite students of diverse backgrounds, groups that cater to those in the LGBTQ+ communities, and far beyond.
If you want to be a voice for students and help lead change at CSU, you can also consider getting involved with student government. The Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU) are elected student representatives that advocate for CSU students on campus and at the local, state, and national levels of government. ASCSU reps are frequently included in big university decisions, oversee the allocation of student fees, for campus programming, athletics, and a wide variety of services such as RamRide, Transport, media publication and much more.
#3. Attend the Diversity Symposium and diversity events.
Every year, CSU’s week-long Diversity Symposium allows students, staff, and faculty alike to come together to share and learn in dozens of sessions related to diversity and inclusion. Along with keynote speeches by notable speakers, you can attend sessions to enrich your academic and personal experience at CSU on topics that range from personal identity to race and racism to equity and accessibility. Sessions like Entrepreneurship as an Act of Social Activism, Inclusion is About Language Diversity, Too, Dismantling Whiteness, and Promoting Girls from Marginalized Groups in STEM are just a few topics from our most-recent symposium.
#4. Check out our self-study resources and participate in Rams Read.
For some, the best starting point to exploring social justice begins at home. That’s why we’ve got a list of resources to help you learn what we talk about when we say social justice is a part of our culture. You’ll find a book list (all of which you can find at the Morgan Library), some tips for inclusive practices in classes and online meetings, recommended articles from our Vice President of Diversity, and links to watch previous Diversity Symposium sessions.
Rams Read is a program at CSU with a book-club-inspired design. You can join the CSU community in reading a book that centers around social justice, equity, inclusion, bias, and beyond, then participate (or simply listen in) on one of the virtual discussions. In these discussions, you’ll get to hear other perspectives and take a deeper look at how the book affected you personally. Rams Read books are available as a free digital download to incoming first-year students, or you can check out a digital copy at the Morgan Library. You can also purchase or rent the book in the CSU bookstore.
#5. Get involved with student diversity programs and services
Colorado State’s diversity offices offer a place for students to join a community where they can be supported in a variety of ways. You’ll find everything from events and celebrations to study groups and peer counseling to accessing disability services or help in stressful or unsafe situations. Our diversity offices include the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC), the Black/African American Cultural Center (B/AACC), El Centro, the Pride Resource Center, the Native American Cultural Center (NACC), the Student Disability Center, the Women and Gender Advocacy Center (WGAC). Check out each office’s website to explore resources and events; the offices are open to any student who wishes to learn more about each community.