Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” On Seattle University campus, a club called Sustainable Student Action (SSA) is involved with social justice issues like adjunct faculty unionization and divestment.
During their latest meeting on Feb. 13, they spoke about what they can do to be the leading the impact on campus.
SSA is made up primarily of activists on the Seattle U campus and in the surrounding community. Though the group supports many causes, such as Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock, SSA’s primary mission is to combat climate change.
Junior Wendall Tseng contributed to the Unionization Rally held fall quarter 2016.
“Adjunct teachers are paid less than tenured faculty,” Tseng said. “Contracts are renewed every quarter, programs are getting cut and there has not been a rally since 2016 of fall quarter…it can be a problem if no students are saying anything.”
Their commitment is to encourage other students to take action on social issues before waiting for others on campus to do it. Part of their involvement is to encourage other students to take action without having to wait.
SSA’s involvement has to do with activism both on and off campus. A few months ago they were part of the #MeToo movement. They’ve also been involved heavily with the Black Lives Matter movement with SSA member and fourth year Nicolas Cruz spearheading many Black Lives Matter events and conversations on campus.
“Black Lives Matter is fighting against the struggle of Black people getting no justice in their community when incidents with police brutality goes on,” Cruz said. “The main idea is to battle the issues of Black people in general with their lives taken unjustly.”
Along with Black Lives Matter and the Unionization Rally, they been active in advocating against the Keystone Oil Pipeline that is running through the Standing Rock Reservation.
During Tuesday’s event, SSA discussed the issues of what’s been going on in North Dakota. The Dakota Access Pipleline runs through the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation. The pipeline delivers oil from North Dakota to Illinois and is harmful to the lives of people who live along the route.
The main reason that many students are involved in SSA is passion. Junior Sierra Suafoa-McClain is an example of passion for her craft.
“What we all have in common is passion in what we do,” Suafoa McClain said. “The involvement in the community is very impactful to the Seattle University campus.”
SSA’s current priority is to educate students on environmental issues, especially divestment. SSA believes that the environmental struggle is also a human struggle. “We do it because it is the right thing to do,” Senior Madeline Corbin said. “The sake of the SSA duty is to be the voice of those who are voiceless.”
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