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At Stanford University, twelve student members of the Stanford Labor Action Coalition have been staging a hunger strike for the last five days to protest the lack of a living wage for the school's contract employees. About a dozen people have been on a hunger strike, first camping out in White Plaza and then outside of Hennessy's office. The student group is "challenging Stanford to be the model employer that (it is) claiming to be," group spokesperson Shamala Gallagher told the Stanford Daily.
The Student/Farmworker Alliance celebrated a major victory last week when McDonald's announced a landmark agreement to work together with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to improve the wages and working conditions of Florida farmworkers. After two years of escalating pressure by the Alliance, McDonald's has agreed to pay one penny more per pound to workers harvesting tomatoes for McDonald's; to a stronger code of conduct based on the principle of worker participation, and to a collaborative effort to develop a third-party mechanism for monitoring conditions in the fields and investigating workers' complaints of abuse.
At Rutgers University, on April 23th, the Fifth Annual Tent State University will kick off with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a panel discussion on the new economics of higher education. TSU is an international student movement that originated at Rutgers in 2003 as a response to budget cuts. For the past two years, the overarching message of TSU, has been, "Education not War." This year, the Rutgers TSU is calling for the implementation of a voting position on the Board of Governors representing students, the creation of a dedicated tax on legal and accounting fees that would help fund higher education, the full-funding of higher education, and the passage of the Dream Act nationally, which would allow for young undocumented immigrants that were raised and educated in the United States to qualify for the same in-state tuition that is available to their peers.
At the University of Iowa, IowaPIRG students hosted a global warming panel with State Senator Joe Bolckom last week. Over 70 students attended the event and engaged Senator Bolckom on his plans to fight global warming in the state.
This is a miniscule sampling of the great political work many students are doing today.
Peter Rothberg writes the ActNow column for the The Nation. ActNow aims to put readers in touch with creative ways to register informed dissent. Whether it's a grassroots political campaign, a progressive film festival, an antiwar candidate, a street march, a Congressional bill needing popular support or a global petition, ActNow will highlight the outpouring of cultural, political and anti-corporate activism sweeping the planet.