What Causes Are Students Active In?
Thomas Kirnbauer & Dajanae Palmer – At the 2018 Association for the Study of Higher (ASHE) Allison (analyst), Dajanae (student), Donté Miller (student), and Thomas Kirnbauer (student) shared research findings related to the Student Activism experimental item set. The item set was a part of the Spring 2017 NSSE administration and was designed to capture which issues and causes most concern college students; the complete set of questions can be found here. In particular, we focused on an open-ended question that asked students, “In which social or political causes are you most active?”
Based on over 8,000 responses from 26 different institutions, the top three themes were related to gender (e.g. women & LGBTQ rights), politics/elections (e.g. election results), and race (e.g. #BlackLivesMatter). Interestingly, we found that nearly one-third of all respondents reported not being active in any causes. Whereas, for the students who do participate in activism, racial causes were the most popular category. We also discovered that students involved with political causes did not feel supported by their institution. Keeping in mind the forever changing climate of our government, institutions need to wake up and support these students.