Students should take opportunities to participate and serve


Phil Brown

In a world where inequality, marginalization, and economic instability are commonplace, it’s often difficult to see how change can be accomplished. It’s often just as hard to find motivation to do anything “extra” to help out, or try to accomplish change. What’s the point of trying to play a rigged game, or to spend time on something that won’t change the system?

The Nebraska Democratic Party holds Presidential caucuses around the state on March 5th. As in other states, the caucus offers citizens an opportunity to discuss the election of candidates with each other in a physical space. Citizens who caucus this weekend will “vote with their feet” very literally, arranging themselves in the caucus space by preference for each candidate.

After one side or another gains a sizeable majority, each district will elect a delegate to represent this majority opinion to the county convention. At the county convention, district delegates will elect delegates to go to the state convention, who will in turn elect delegates to go to the national convention.


There are objections one could make to the idea of caucusing. The votes aren’t exactly determining who the party nominates for the national election, let alone the presidency itself. They’re just indicating a “preference” for the district delegates to take into account, who will vote on county delegates, who will vote on state delegates, who will vote for the national nominee. And in turn, that nominee won’t be selected by citizen vote, but with another series of layered semi-democratic schemes and processes.

With all this in mind, it’s easy to be skeptical about the practicality of the Caucus. But in an undemocratic system, power should be taken where it can be found. There is power in a caucus, even if it doesn’t translate directly to the Presidency. Interacting with one’s neighbors in a physical space, compells one to argue and explain one’s political ideals and reasoning accountably instead of being stuck in the cocoon of one’s own opinions and the opinions of people one surround oneself with. A caucus can strengthen one’s community and one’s own political ideas.

There are and will be opportunities to serve within the community at or through our University. Similarly to voting and caucusing, it is often difficult to see the practical reasons for volunteering. How much will actually be changed?

Seven Days of Service will return this spring break, for those staying home. UNO Students can join K-12 students and community members on a variety of service projects through the week, in lieu of spring break. Besides the special week, there are opportunities to serve around campus every day.

One won’t end hunger by donating food or volunteering at the Food Pantry. But there is a real-world impact made with that service. One would help one’s neighbor and fellow student according to their need, and make the community stronger as a result. As students, we all have the power to help and change our community and society. One just has to look for it.