Rights Organizations on Campus

Explore the different student organizations that focus on human rights, women’s rights, animal rights, and more.

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Your college years are a time of personal growth, and many students choose to get active in the issues that interest them.

Student organizations focusing on respect, tolerance and expansion of equality are a great place for you to meet like-minded individuals and speak out about the things that matter to you.

Any student who is interested in making a difference or gaining a better understanding of the important issues could benefit from joining an organization related to these issues.

What Do Rights Groups Have in Common?

College rights groups typically act as clubs where students can get involved. The groups stress research, education, outreach, fundraising and action. A rights organization may focus on any or all of these things with the broader goal of making a difference.

Human Rights Groups

Students who join human-rights groups typically work on research and advocacy programs to help end human-rights violations at home and abroad. The Harvard University Human Rights Advocates, for example, is a student-run group that educates others on the issue of human rights, sets up conferences and discussions, sponsors and raises money for specific international advocacy projects, and assists with legal research for victims of rights violations.

Animal Rights Groups

Groups such as PAW, the Partnership for Animal Welfare at University of Colorado, Boulder, work to educate people on animal-cruelty issues, research solutions to animal-rights problems, and promote plans of action to protect animals. Like similar student organizations across the country, PAW stages protests, sponsors fundraising and service projects, and sets up social events for students to come together to learn and have fun.

Gay Rights

Many students on campus are speaking out against gay-rights violations. At the University of California, Berkeley there is a wide variety of gay-rights organizations that students can join including groups for women, people of color, and even law students. There are also general LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) groups and allies’ groups where students can promote their cause or simply have a safe place to hang out.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International has chapters at many colleges including community colleges. Herkimer County Community College in New York has a chapter where students can get involved in the causes championed by Amnesty International, which often have to do with political prisoners and dissenters in foreign countries. Chapters also work on causes that include abolishing the death penalty and serving as advocates for the freedom of prisoners who have been detained on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, creed or language.

Who Joins These Groups?

Almost all colleges in the United States have rights organizations for students. Any student who is interested in making a difference or gaining a better understanding of the important issues could benefit from joining an organization related to these issues.

The great part of trying these things out in college is that you can be as active as you want to be. If all you want to do is learn a little about the issue at hand, most groups are happy to teach you. If you want to help raise funds, work, or teach others, then look into joining a group at your own college.

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Student Organizations: An Overview
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