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Political activism a challenge to keep alive at Langara

Students don't stick around long enough to establish clubs and movements

Langara College's Hong Kongers Club set up booth to support Hong Kong protests. Langara Voice photo.
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Reported by Shoji Whittier 

While many students at Langara College feel their political views can be shared openly on campus, few have enough time to get politically involved or put their views into action before they graduate.

Paul Prosperi, Langara political science department chair. Shoji Whittier photo.

Paul Prosperi, department chair of the Langara political science department, said Langara’s role as a university transfer college limits political activism on campus. The high student turnover rate, he explained, means there isn’t enough continuity among students to set up political clubs.

Political clubs die when club founders transfer to university

“Somebody will come and say they want to start a [political club], and that club will exist for a year or two, and then it dies when that individual transfers to SFU or UBC,” Prosperi said. “[Activism] requires an investment in time and energy on the part of people, so if you don’t have a culture on campus where that takes place, it acts as a barrier to people getting involved.”

Amit Mahajan, a business management student, said that he isn’t politically active but he would like to see more political events on campus.

“I don’t have much interest in these things, but it should be more encouraged, there should be rallies and things like that,” Mahajan said.

Students feel free to express political beliefs on campus

That is not to say that political views cannot be shared at Langara. Many students said the college allows for free discussion of politics.

Jenna Loewen, enrolled in the Latin-American studies program, said she finds Langara and B.C. to be more accepting of various political opinions than other places she has lived.

“I’m from Alberta, and it is not easy to be [political] there,” Loewen said. “There’s a lot of diversity [here], and a lot more acceptance for open conversation in regards to policies.”

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