Next semester, a few good Cougs will be visiting Olympia twice to represent the student body. In previous years, Coug Day at the Capitol has involved students lobbying for many changes to how WSU is treated by the state, mainly in terms of tuition. This year, though, with tuition controlled by the WSU Board of Regents, the focus of the group will be education.
This time, however, our ASWSU leaders have promised to educate the horde of indignant college students they will bring with them to the state capitol. Instead of feeding them talking points on the bus ride up, the students will likely be required to attend at least one information session. This will hopefully form them into one cohesive group that is able to articulate their concerns in a way that will get through to lawmakers in Olympia.
That is why I have hope for next semester's two Coug Days at the Capitol – and I do not usually have hope for these kinds of things. While it may not prove very effective, at least the occupation will have a point. Too often the youthful vitriol college students have for politics is hampered by either misinformation or a lack of information in general.
We saw the same thing on a larger scale with the Occupy movement. Thousands of young people took to the streets as they would with any other life choice, with no research and no plan. Just as the Occupy movement is failing, past Coug Days have been unimpressive. But with a solid education about the facts of the matters they are addressing, the Coug Days could surpass Occupy Wall Street in efficacy.
Part of why I support this new angle is that it just makes sense to educate those who are fighting for education. Honestly, it is perplexing that this practice did not happen sooner. Rest assured a couple buses full of college students incoherently rambling about how eating Ramen every night is hard had little effect on the powers that be.
The Coug Days at the Capitol will likely go the way of Occupy Wall Street, but at least it will in theory stand out for being a well-educated ineffective mob instead of just an ineffective mob. On the other hand, if they end up affecting some real change, I will truly be proud to be a Coug.
In a perfect world, all political activists would be able to speak volumes on their cause of the day. Sadly, since political activists are also people, group-think and stereotypes rule the agenda. In the meantime, the knowledge of our fellow students who will go to Olympia to speak on our behalf will show the progress that can be made in political discourse. I wish them all the very best of luck.