Activist Picnic Brings Together Zealous Voices, Enthusiastic Ears

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Activist Maddie Reichman '13 shows off a properly-spelled advertisement for the picnic. Photo by Ellen Sanchez-Heurta '13.

The activist community at Swarthmore is getting out of the gates early this semester. At Saturday’s activist picnic, about 10 representatives from campus’s various activist groups gathered with a score of interested students to introduce themselves and to appeal to potential club-members.

Groups represented at the picnic, which took place on the lawn above Sharples, included STAND, Swarthmore Labor Action Project (SLAP), the Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA), Swat Feminists, Learning for Life, and Free the Slaves—a new group—among others.

Each representative gave a forty-second pitch. “I don’t want to brag, but we were really active last year. It was great,” said Danny Hirschel-Burns ’14, who came representing STAND, an anti-genocide group. “You meet radical and progressive thinkers,” he continued. “The more [you] work with these groups, the more [you] realize how many incredible people there are.”

Ben Wolcott ’14 said of his experience with Learning for Life, “It’s my favorite thing to do every week.” He explained that “fighting for something on campus [ … ] lets you engage with the school on a whole different level.”

David Ding ’16, who came to listen, said of the activists, “They seem like a very motivated, diverse bunch of individuals who are passionate in their beliefs of the world, trying to correct the injustices they see as most salient to them. ‘Honorable’ and ‘charismatic’ are words that come to mind.” Asked if he knew which groups he’d like to join, he responded, “Not particularly. It’s nice to have education and awareness of every single group, but I can’t join all of them.”

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