4 powerful causes you can support as a university student

advocacy examples for youth
Getting involved in a cause you care about is a great way to help make lasting and impactful change. Source: Tiziana Fabi / AFP

Everyone is supporting a cause these days. From forming our own support groups to signing a petition, we want to use our voices in some way — and usually for the better. 

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in universities, making for plenty of advocacy examples for youth.

Campuses and schools are great places to get involved in all sorts of causes, from supporting human rights issues to calling for better-quality classes. 

The best part? There are many ways to get involved.

Students everywhere are setting up their own organisations, clubs and societies to help causes dear to their hearts. 

Many of them are vocal in raising awareness about these issues online too.

This makes it easy to find like-minded people at university fairs, student unions, campus cafes, and more. 

Wherever it gets done, speaking up on issues that are being pushed aside by governments and lobbyists is an important venture you should never shy away from. 

Don’t have a cause yet? Here are some examples of common advocacy examples for youth you could make a difference in:

4 advocacy examples for youth

Medical interns and students protesting the extension of general doctors’ studies by one year in geographical areas suffering a lack of medical personnel, Paris. Source: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Sexual and reproductive health

University is full of changes, from learning to live on your own to navigating new relationships and the like.

New environments mean that you might have chances to explore certain parts of your sexuality that you might not have before.

It’s important that you feel more in control of their bodies, reproductive cycles and their own sexuality.

Should problems arise, everyone should have access to sexual healthcare.

It’s how we can protect ourselves from and find help for sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes (which are common among students) and more.

But access to and conversations around sexual health are sadly not commonplace across the world.

While most popular higher education countries like the UK, US, Australia and Canada do provide adequate sexual health clinics, others may not.

This is particularly true for countries in which sexual health — especially women’s health — remains taboo in society. 

By speaking up, you could help change this to ensure everyone receives adequate services for their sexual health.

Climate change

Climate change is one of the most crucial advocacy examples for youth plaguing our world right now.

In fact, reports show that it is the top concern for Gen Z students — and for good reason. 

According to experts, the planet’s climate has warmed at a rate that has not been seen in the past 10,000 years.

Human activity has significantly changed the landscape of our environment for the worse — contributing to an unsustainable future for generations to come. 

Given how prevalent and widespread this issue is, there are many societies, clubs and events that you can join.

These could involve anything from simply raising awareness to participating in beach clean-ups, tree-planting sessions, recycling initiatives, and more. 

Beach clean-ups are a great way to get involved in protecting the environment on and around campus. Source: Apu Gomes/AFP

Mental health 

Mental health is a topic that affects all students. According to research, more than 60% of college students in the US met the criteria of at least one mental health issue.

These include everything from social anxiety and depression to neurological conditions like ADD and other learning disabilities. 

Naturally, these issues often impact a student’s ability to concentrate in class and perform on their tests. Campuses are beginning to notice and taking efforts to help.

Many have begun offering on-campus group therapy, peer counselling, and online sessions. 

Still, it’s no secret that many mental health conditions are severely misunderstood.

In this, it might be useful to join a society or community that works to embrace and offer solutions for affected students. 

Racial equality 

University is challenging for everyone. International students have an extra hurdle to overcome: dealing with racism and discrimination. 

While this is not a hard and fast rule everywhere racism, direct and indirect, is sadly experienced by almost every international student who moves overseas. 

Some students found that certain US campuses serve to reinforce cultural and social racism.

Many are affected by bouts of linguistic racism over the language barriers they face. Others reported experiencing racial microaggressions, COVID-19-related racism, and more. 

Whether you’re affected or not, it’s a good idea to get involved with any anti-racism groups on campus — especially if you’re from a minority group.

This will help you gain a sense of solidarity, as well as help raise awareness of the consequences of such practices on your mental health, studies, and more.