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Ways to Voice Your Opinion, Express Concerns on Campus

By Tiffany Barnwell
On August 24, 2009

If you you're passionate and opinionated, you've spent years—maybe even decades—telling yourself that you'll probably never see the kind of society you want, because people would never go for it. Maybe it's time to break the habit and get your opinion out.

No question, it's not easy in figuring out what everyone wants. Many get a sense of public opinion from mainstream media. However, if you trust your own perceptions and regularly engage in conversation with people from many walks of life, something quite remarkable may have occurred to you: it's up to us to change things, and every small step counts.

Typically at college, you see many forms of activism. While ranging from environmental, social, to health and nutrition, politics in the past years have sparked the rise of public opinion on campus.

For example, the 2008 Presidential election spawned an increase of candidate campaigning. WCU students campaigned regularly by placing tables on the University Center's lawn, an ideal location, which allowed campaigners access to passers-by.

Western offers various ways to communicate your pressing issues, questions, or concerns.

TV 62, a closed-circuit television state broadcasts movies and original programming to the WCU campus. Their office is located at the Old Student Union building, and can be contacted at (828) 227-3644.

The Western Carolinian, a bi-monthly print and electronic publication featuring articles written, edited and produced by WCU students, with the intent of keeping WCU's campus informed. Also located in the Old Student Union Building. For contact information, visit www.westerncarolinian.com or directly reach the WC at (828) 227-2694.

WCAT, a student-run cable radio station broadcast on the closed-circuit television station 22. Both students and staff work on developing WCAT's Web presence and plan to add an online streaming component in the fall. Contact the WCAT advisor at (828) 227-2195.

The Gadfly, a student-run Journal of Social Criticism and Philosophy with the intent of provoking thought from readers. The Gadfly's editor does not censor his/her writers.

The Nomad, a student arts and literaturejournalpublication that features creative writing, and editing of the journal. Also located in the Old Student Union Building.

Catamount Communications, a dedicated student-run public relations firm that offers quality service to organizations both on and off campus. Relying heavily on volunteers, students engage in real-life, hands-on experience that will benefit budding careers. Located at the A.K. Hinds University Center, or reach by phone at (828) 227-2229.

Remember, a university is more than a place where you get your diploma.

For more information on Western Carolina University's Student Media outlets or information on joining Student Media's staff, contact Katherine Duff Smith, assistant director for student media and marketing, at (828) 227-2195 or smithk@wcu.edu.


Western Carolina Offers More Than Just Publication Opportunity, but Listeners Too


Aside from media outlets, specific people and areas on campus give students, faculty, staff, and community members a sense of safety, support, trustworthiness, and affirmation.

Western's Safe Zone Program provides training, support, resources, and a network of allies committed to enhancing gender, sexuality, and orientation issues reflected in the campus and local community.

"Safe zones are something very helpful to know about. Safe zones are a good resource for those who question their sexual orientation. Safe zones help the community by providing awareness over pressing issues that the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) face," explains Jaime Wyatt, a tour guide and senior majoring in environmental health.

The Safe Zone symbol, a purple triangle, also translates that homophobic and heterosexist comments and actions are not tolerated, but will be addressed in an educational and informative manner. "It's like an extension of the counseling center, because you have several resources spread throughout the university, instead of one central location," furthers Wyatt.

For more information about the program, call (828) 227-2276 or reach by e-mail at safezone@wcu.edu

Rainbow Room, a counselor-facilitated, confidential support group for those who question sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or identify as different from the heterosexual norm and traditional gender roles. Contact Michelle Cooper at (828) 227-7469 or mcooper@email.wcu.edu for more information.

WCU's Counseling and Psychological Service Center (CPS), offers consultation services in which their staff will talk to students about concerns, offer a professional view of the situation, and make recommendations when appropriate. While their goals rely on healthy quality lifestyles, they also assist other in preventing and dealing with psychological problems students may encounter. Located in the second floor of the Center for Heath and Counseling in Bird building, or call (828) 227-7469 to arrange a meeting.

Whether it's expressing your pressing opinions, issues, questions or concerns, there are many positive ways to go about facilitating change and enlightenment throughout yourself and others.


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