Social Justice / Activism


Rebecca Klein '18

On reawakening an interest in accessibility: "As a Student Accessibility Advocate, my world at Oberlin expanded. I met new people just as interested in conversations about disability as I was, people whom I now consider some of my closest friends." [more]

Evelyn Wagaman '17

On deciding to go vegan: "It's this passion that I'll transplant into my academic work this fall, as I begin writing an Honors thesis in philosophy on animal ethics." [more]

Rachel Parnell '16

On an unforgettable moment: "Although Kim Katrin Milan did not teach me the politics of radical love, I cannot help but acknowledge that she illuminated what was already so present in my life and the work that I wish to do. " [more]

Yvette Chen '16

On preparation: "Three years into college, I can say with confidence that my experiences inside and outside of the classroom have equipped me with the skills to fight for what I believe in." [more]

Leah Awkward-Rich '17

On tutoring at Head Start: "I witnessed the kids I spent several hours a week with mature emotionally and personally, and I was given the opportunity to participate as they learned brand new concepts." [more]

Aaron Appel '16

On experiential learning: "What I chose to do while at The Philadelphia Center would have been inconceivable had I not spent the last two and a half years living in this small-town Ohio community." [more]

Mitchell Herrmann '17

On venturing outside the Oberlin bubble: "The trips I took to the city of Akron during the cold of Ohio's winter months introduced me to an entirely new world—a world in which my political and social assumptions were challenged in entirely unexpected ways." [more]

Cria Kay '16

On getting to New Orleans: "Navigating time commitments and cost restraints, I was surprised by how many opportunities appeared in front of me." [more]

Sylvia Woodmansee '15

On coordinating alternative spring break trips: "I appreciate the drive of everyone in the IYS leader group and their willingness to continue reflecting and moving forward with our ideas and work. " [more]

Ty Diringer '14

On embracing public speaking: "My tenure on the Student Union Board helped me to know with certainty that I wanted to enter a world of pivotal dialogue with a firm, clear voice, and gave me confidence that I could." [more]

Charlotte Landes '13

On making new friends on a service trip: "Everyone was open to each experience we encountered, greeting each inevitable trial with a smile, a shrug, and a 'we'll figure it out.'" [more]

Sarah Cheshire '14

On learning from peers: "My education at Oberlin has occurred not only in the classroom, but through living and constantly engaging with so many different people from so many different life contexts." [more]

Rocio Leon '13

On being a Bonner Scholar: "Even though I am naturally shy and quiet, all the laughs, cheesy moments, and of course, all the Bonner Love... made me more comfortable to be myself and increased my confidence." [more]

Victoria González-Rivera '90

On writing Nicaraguan women's history: "I became a feminist and started to focus on an overarching question that would absorb much of my time over the next two decades: why assume that only white women fought back against sexism before the 1970s?" [more]

Rachel Benson '08

On civic engagement: "Fast forward four years, many hours of community service, a lot of growing up, and one Oberlin degree later, and I found myself back in a place where I sought solace and found empowerment - through community service." [more]

Cynthia Malasky '11

On working with IWP: "For two months, I have been in charge of the Oberlin region, working with two other student interns to teach English classes, serve as interpreters, and prepare for court cases for undocumented and contracted immigrant workers." [more]

Raquel Farah-Robison '11

On working with the America Reads program: "Witnessing both of my students' growth and finding creative ways to nourish their newly found enthusiasm gave me a deep sense of fulfillment." [more]

Cindy Camacho '11

On becoming a scholar activist: "With the help of my wonderful mentor, Daphne John, associate professor of sociology, I am able to use the academic tools that I have gained at Oberlin to fight the battles of injustice." [more]

Hannah Gordon '11

On her service trip to Open Ground: "Throughout the week, so many tight-knit connections were formed among people from various niches of Oberlin–people who otherwise would have probably never even met each other." [more]

Paulena Papagiannis '12

On volunteering at Oberlin: "Through a bevy of volunteer opportunities, the Murray Ridge - Oberlin College Alliance has re-established a vital outlet for Oberlin students to connect with some very special members of our community." [more]

Patrick Yaeger '95

On using social media for social justice: "I wanted to bridge the gap between the fledgling post Prop 8 equality activists and the educational empowering quality media that I knew was out there." [more]

Wendell Russell, Jr. '71

On the ethos of Obies: "My Oberlin was very much a time and place of social ferment and activism, and while the issues may be different today, I know that Oberlin students will always be deeply involved in cutting edge social change." [more]

Anita Fahrni '65

On changing the world, one book at a time: "After returning, I started to collect, sort and send books. Within 10 years, over 220,000 books would find their way from my garage to libraries throughout Mongolia!" [more]

Amanda Turley '10

On fighting back: "My freshman year, I joined the planning committee for Oberlin's first ever Relay for Life. For the event, I started my own team: the Pirates Dueling Cancer, decked out in black and red pirate attire. That first year, we raised over $20,000." [more]

Christopher Sanders '08

On the lifelong connection to Oberlin's values: "Oberlin instills in each student a dedication to improving the lives of others... I continue to incorporate my four years of experiences into my everyday life while working in the U.S. House of Representatives." [more]

Ruth Adler Rosensweig '68

On the emergence of political awareness: "Before coming to Oberlin, I had never seen a demonstration or sit-in or even considered challenging government or college administration policy." [more]

Yolanda Walker '09

On succeeding through adversity: "Oberlin takes those with ambition and provides them with a world of opportunities. I entered Oberlin as a housekeeper and graduated four years later with a degree in economics." [more]

Matthew Rinaldi '69

On working with the Oberlin Action for Civil Rights: "Oberlin played a major role in the student civil rights movement... Not just one person, but many people, linked arm and arm together, ended the reign of white supremacy in the Deep South." [more]

Robert Frascino '74

On things gained from his time here: "Oberlin taught me many things ... It allowed me to evolve, survive and thrive in ways I never could have imagined on that sunny afternoon thirty-five years ago flinging a Frisbee with Cousin Itt and Jimi Hendrix on Tappan Square." [more]

Kym Buzdygon '07

On starting the Free Store: "I am so grateful to have been at a place where ideas like the Free Store... are so well-received and supported. Oberlin is really a great place to have initiative on any scale." [more]

Francesca Minonne '08

On her connection to the town of Oberlin: "I will take what I have learned with me: that academics and civic engagement can and should be combined, producing something far more enriching together than either alone." [more]

David Fisher '12

On his work at the Bonner Center for Service and Learning: "Working for eco-social transformation in Oberlin is endowing me with a far deeper understanding of many things, including how to write a grant proposal, build a project vision, and seek to change the world." [more]

Martha J. Tenney '83

On the lasting effects of her time at Oberlin: "Years later I have a career in public health and the things I love are the things I loved that helped create the squiggly route to NOW." [more]

Colin Jones '08

On volunteering in post-Katrina New Orleans: "The values of service, hard work, and solidarity in the pursuit of justice that were instilled by Oberlin pushed us forward." [more]

Amanda Medress '09

On the Oberlin College Dialogue Center: "We handle conflict through a social justice lens, which means acknowledging that differences in power and privilege inherently affect human interaction." [more]

PJ Carter '09

On organizing a mentoring program in Lorain, OH: "The culture of Oberlin encourages students to get deeply involved in what they are passionate about and to make a difference." [more]

Kantara Souffrant '08

On the Oberlin College Dialogue Center: "[we work] with the hopes of building an inclusive campus-climate and global community where individuals can interact with each other earnestly ... and live amongst each other with a sense of integrity, understanding, and compassion." [more]


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