Most Politically Active Colleges

By Brendan Conway updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

Democrats! Republicans! Conservatives! Liberals! Libertarians! Libertines! Librarians!

Those with strong political beliefs have traditionally found themselves welcome and fostered at colleges and universities, but some campuses are definitely greater hotbeds (hotterbeds?) of political activity than are others. If you want in on some political discourse, then maybe you should be looking into these colleges.


American University
Washington, DC

  • Its location puts it right on top of the major political action.
  • Well-renowned for its politics and law programs.
  • Students routinely work in nearby political forums and on the Hill, in positions earned through the college.


George Washington University
Washington, DC

  • Located only a short way away from the White House itself.
  • Many faculty members are directly involved in the nation's government.
  • 45 student political groups on the campus, including College Democrats and Republicans, Colonials Against State Executions, Students for a Free Cuba, and more.


Columbia University
New York City, NY

  • A long history of political protestation on campus, which very well may have defined how other colleges perform protests.
  • 58 political/activist groups for students to participate in.
  • Students are capable of influencing their own school's policies through political protestation, and have done so in the past.


New York University
New York City, NY

  • NYU boasts the NYU Department of Politics, one of the best political science programs in the world.
  • NYU students are almost always performing a protest or a demonstration with relation to an important political issue.
  • NYU is home to an array of student organizations which foster political activism in students.


Georgetown University
Washington, DC

  • Host to organizations and events such as Amnesty International, Right to Life, and Take Back the Night.
  • Students have effected real change on campus through political action, including increasing financial assistance for students and ending the university's use of sweatshops.
  • Important guest speakers and leaders come to campus to speak.


Pitzer College
Claremont, CA

  • A highly liberal school, in almost every respect.
  • Students are highly active in political spheres and protests -- to the point where Pitzer's school sport has been said to be politics.
  • Nearly everyone on campus keeps consistently up-to-date with world events and relevant information.


Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH

  • The first college to admit African-American students.
  • Highly liberal campus, full of free-thinking, non-conformity, and creativity.
  • An emphasis on social consciousness and politics in daily life.


Tips for Being Politcally Active on Campus

Tip #1: Be open-minded!
Don't just go to events for one side of the political issues; go to the events for both! This isn't just a matter of keeping an open mind. This is about learning the arguments of both sides of an issue to be able to engage in good discourse.

Tip #2: Investigate the world!
While you're at college, it can sometimes be easy to slip into a bubble. Make sure that you keep yourself aware of and up-to-date on the important political issues of the world around you, especially at the local level. It's often far easier to effect political change at the local level, so keep aware, and if you see something you want to change, make it happen!

Tip #3: Be polite!
If you want to change someone's mind, yelling at them and calling them names isn't generally a good idea. Always be polite and respectful when you're interacting with others holding different views from your own. Simply put: debate is fine, but being a jerk isn't.

About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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