OPINION

Column: The 2016 election brought change, compassion to UA campus culture

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Steven Spooner | The Daily Wildcat

People protest at the Women's March on Washington in Tucson on Jan. 21. The march was a national event occurring in multiple cities throughout the nation.

The 2016 election was one for the books which ignited a spark of passion in university students to wake up, pay attention and get involved in their community.

Whether you stand on the red side, the blue side or square in the middle, the lessons of this election were the things we carried away and took with us as we entered a new era of American life. Our campus was part of a national spark to be more active and take pride in the community we are a part of.

With national marches for women, science and climate change in Washington D.C., as well as across the country, Tucson saw its very own satellite marches, with university students at the helm. 

If there was nothing else university students took away from this election, other than the way the political system works, it was that our voices do matter and have the ability to make a difference. 

We’re more capable now than ever, as we’re interconnected with national organizations through the internet and social media. Students are more capable of sending and receiving information and connecting with people and organizations looking to make a difference. 

It lit a passion for entire fields of study, including science and journalism. The science march joined together not only university students studying various fields of sciences, but also professional researchers and others who are involved in the field of science every day.

Students in the field of journalism further connected with professionals and worked together to ensure the news people received was news based on truth and facts. 

It sparked compassion in campus-wide communities, getting students up and off their feet, engaging with the community they’re a part of. 

There were those who were pleased with the election results and those who were a little more than disappointed. Regardless of which side you stood on during the election, and in the weeks after, there has been a change through our campus. 

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More communities on and around campus look to open their arms to those who question what they’re really about. More people are interested in taking an active role in the community and joining organizations to help make a difference in their own way. 

As college students, we look to the past in order to build a brighter future. This academic year has been overshadowed by the election, and there’s no denying it played a role in our campus culture. 

Not only has there been more opportunity for students to be better in tune with how our federal government works, but the same is true for learning how to make your voice matter. Over countless controversial bills, people have been encouraged to call their representatives. 

Americans have learned how to reach out to those making the calls for our country and how to play the role of an active citizen, besides just casting a ballot in an election. 

This past year, I’ve seen more students looking to get involved and play an active role in their future, and the future they’ll build once they leave the UA, more than any other year. 

There may be threats of cutting funding to national organizations, but students have opportunities to work together on a much smaller scale to keep their communities together and running seamlessly. 

In particular, we’ve seen more awareness and activity surrounding the border. Since Tucson is close to the U.S.-Mexico border, threats to build a wall to keep immigrants out has ignited a spark in people on both sides of the issue. 

With the border essentially in our backyard here in Tucson, it was a local issue, and a passion-driven one at that. 

As Americans, our senses were heightened to political issues, especially those we had opportunity to make a difference in. 

The most positive, non-partisan result of the election was the ability for people to come together over similar causes, be it over gender, field of study or community.


Follow Leah Gilchrist on Twitter.



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