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Five Effective Ways To Be Socially Active (Guess What Isn't One Of Them)

Feeling the need to fight the system? We got you. Lost on where to start? We got you too.

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If you’re on social media you’ve probably seen thousands of posts about social issues

But it’s hard to help a cause when you’re juggling school work, a social life, more work and everything else in between. Lucky for you, there are many easy ways you can get active, some of which you don’t even have to leave the comforts of your bed to do!

To start off, posting and sharing isn’t enough

As former Congress worker Emily Ellsworth stated on Twitter, “tweeting or writing on Facebook is largely ineffective. I never looked at those comments except to remove the harassing ones.” When it comes down to it, the people you’re protesting against can’t hear your voice through a Facebook message. There’s too many trolls and cat videos flooding people’s news feeds!

If you really want to make a difference, and get an A+ in civic engagement, you’ve got to go the extra mile.

1. It’s always good to go out and protest

It seems like a lot of work. But if you’ve fallen behind on that New Year’s resolution to exercise, walking in a protest can get you physically -- and civically -- active.

And you don’t have to travel far, many people join a local rally. Just ask all the people who participated in the Women’s March...well, if you have time to ask 4.8 million people, or the equivalent to the entire population of New Zealand -- hobbits and elves not included.

2. If you can’t stick around for a protest, sign a petition

This requires going outside again, since online petitions aren’t as effective as their physical counterparts.

The Black Lives Matter Seattle chapter learned the hard way how important signatures can be. They wanted to change Washington’s law that prevents police from being prosecuted for unjust killing. They had people sign a petition to get the issue on the next ballot, but there weren't enough signatures in time.

3. If you want to be a high achiever, you can also volunteer

Katniss Everdeen is the poster child for this, and it certainly ended up being a time consumer for her. But not to worry, there are plenty of manageable volunteer opportunities. Get in touch with a cause's local organizers and join in by gathering petition signatures or handing out flyers.

Another Bonus Tip: Volunteering is great for resumes

Just look at Kara Knutson, a seventeen-year-old who began her own protest for DAPL and worked with community members to donate time and money for the cause. Now she’s involved with local Board of Education meetings about Native American issues. You can bet that will stand out to anyone looking at her resume.

4. Already too preoccupied with your other studies? Try a postcard!

Although you can send emails to representatives, those can be as easily ignored as a Facebook post. A postcard is an excellent – and cheap – alternative. There was even a campaign that sent so many postcards to the Capitol Hill offices that the offices begged them to stop flooding the mailboxes.

If you want to take a quick break from studying for a chemistry test or writing that ten page English paper, grab yourself a postcard. It can be a great way to let go of all that stress and frustration by not only taking a stroll to the mailbox but also venting to someone about problems you care about.

5. But if you’d rather not leave your room, the best way is to call your representatives

Calling local representatives can be one of the most effective ways to reach people. They can’t avoid you like in emails or on Facebook. But it can be terrifying making that call – even if it only lasts a minute or two.

And that’s why people create sample scripts of what to say, like for this list of issues in Austin’s congressional districts. If you’re not sure who to call or how to get in contact, there’s a website for that too!

Now go on and fight the system!

Prove Jeff Goldblum right and take a walk in the next local march or have a chat with your local reps. You might just be making a difference in our world.

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