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The New Student Activists

'The New Student Activists' cover image

The New Student Activists

The Rise of Neoactivism on College Campuses

Meet the new breed of student activists—uncompromising, focused, and connected.

Activism is once again back on college campuses as students protest issues such as sexual assault, climate change, racial injustice, and student debt. It's perhaps unsurprising that the current political moment has triggered the rise of a new breed of student activist—uncompromising, focused, and connected. But many pundits have variously derided student activists as either "snowflakes," too fragile to encounter opinions that run contrary to their own, or as "social justice warriors" who aggressively fight against those who transgress the ever-changing bounds of political correctness. The New Student Activists moves beyond these simple stereotypes and convenient caricatures to examine the nuanced motives and complex experiences of real-life, present-day college student activists.

Jerusha O. Conner offers insight into who these student activists are—the causes they care about, the strategies they deploy, the factors that motivate and sustain them, and the impact they have had on their campuses and beyond. Conner dubs today's student activists "neoactivists," who borrow from and build on the legacies of past generations of college student activists. Exploring when, how, and why this diverse group of students turned to activism, Conner examines the social and educational influences on their sociopolitical development. She also reveals the fraught but mutually transformative relationship between institutions of higher education and student activists in the contemporary moment.

Written for anyone interested in better understanding the latest wave of student activism on campuses, The New Student Activists raises fascinating implications for developmental theory and higher education policy and practice.