Rockapalooza promotes student activism

By By Celeste Hollenbeck

By Celeste Hollenbeck

Mayor Rocky Anderson spoke to U students on Friday to encourage student political participation at an event called Rockapalooza, sponsored by local student groups and the Associated Students of the University of Utah.

“Student activism is crucial to bringing about progressive changes,” Anderson said. “It is on campuses that civil rights movements are brought about and consumer protection is advanced, and it is on these campuses where we can see what’s required to make changes in the disastrous domestic and foreign policies under the Bush administration.”

In his speech, Anderson mentioned issues such as global warming, transit, sprawl development and pollution.

He also encouraged students to increase their involvement, such as being aware of waste emissions from local businesses and requesting the conversion to alternative fuels for fleet vehicles.

Among the student groups in attendance were Students for Choice, University Not in Our Name and Terra Firma.

“Getting involved is easier than people think,” said Todd Raleigh, a senior at the U majoring in bioengineering and representative for the pre med American Medical Student Association.

Raleigh’s organization tried to raise awareness for a drive to provide the homeless with socks and underwear, essential items often overlooked in donations.

“Be more aware and notice the small things and how important they are. It can get you motivated about the bigger picture. People don’t know what’s really going on around them unless it hits close to home,” according to Raleigh.

Also concerned with the issue of awareness, Amy Dabb of the Healthy Environmental Alliance of Utah said, “Things go on and people don’t notice. Just 20 miles west of Salt Lake City, they want to dump nuclear rods on the Goshute reservation…It’s good to be a part of a group that’s trying to prevent that and is concerned with overall health.”

The intention of Rockapalooza, said Katie Zimmer from Students for Choice, was to make it easier to become active by just walking through to see what groups were available on campus.

“It aligns us with other student groups to work together for a common cause,” said Kristin Coult, a student representative from Students Organized for Animal Rights.

Also, the event was an opportunity for newer or lesser-known organizations to be heard.

Alongside the tables of more established organizations, Ashley Weber, Jamie Minor and Chrystia Losianovich held a petition to promote xeriscaping-cultivation of water-conserving native plants-and other methods of water conservation to be used at the U.

“It’s a good way of raising awareness. Having the mayor speak shows that the officials of the state value our opinions,” Weber said.

Other interest groups that attended Rockapalooza included the Utah Population and Environment Coalition, College Democrats, Wasatch Community Gardens, the Great Basin Earth Institute, the Utah Wind Power Campaign, the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective and Ching Sanctuary.

“It’s cool to see so many people come together focused on these social issues, and that the mayor came out and spoke,” said Jen McBride, a U student who attended the event.

Martha McLaughlin, a U senior in gender studies, said that she liked that the event was “about students and by students…Everybody can share what they’ve been doing.”

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