Center for Civic Engagement

Active Citizenship Guide

Many WSU students have expressed growing interest in becoming more actively involved in civic life. When thinking about how you can become more democratically engaged, here are a few tips.

  • Focus Your Efforts

    • Pick Your Top Issues: There are hundreds of important issues, but it is impossible for one person to address them all! Pick a few issues that matter to you most to focus on.
    • Identify Your Talents: Make a list of your talents and strengths to determine how best you can support your causes.
    • Create Your Action Plan: With your top issues and list of talents, create an action plan for yourself.

  • Educate Yourself & Others

    • Read: Educate yourself by reading and taking classes.
    • Research: Find out who your representatives are and take time to research your issues.
    • Follow: Like/follow social media pages for organizations you support.
    • Listen: Attend meetings or events for groups to learn.
    • Discuss: Share news and thoughts with your friends, family, and colleagues.
    • Train: Take advantage of trainings that will help you be a better ally.

  • Simple (But Important) Actions

    • Vote: Register to vote and vote in every election.
    • Live Your Values: Avoid products that conflict with your causes.
    • Donate: If you can, donate to causes that you support.
    • Wear Your Cause: When you can, wear buttons, stickers, and shirts that share your cause.
    • Write Your Reps: Write to and call your representatives to share your opinions.
    • Write to the Newspaper: Write to your local newspaper about what current issues are important to you and why.

  • More Involved Actions

    • Attend Events: Attend rallies, protests, and events to show your support.
    • Attend Meetings: Attend local meetings like city council meetings and town hall meetings.
    • Join Local Groups: Join student and community groups that align with your passions.
    • Share Literature: Help spread the messages of groups you’re a part of or support by carrying their literature with you so you can share it.
    • Register Voters: Help register others to vote.
    • Volunteer: Volunteer with organizations that align with your top issues.

  • Most Intensive Actions

    • Work: Look for internships and jobs that align with the issues you’re passionate about.
    • Leadership: Become leader and organizer for groups you’re a part of or start your own.
    • Run for Office: Become involved in politics by running for office.

  • Take Care of Your Wellbeing

    • Self-Care: Lastly, take time out for self-care when you need it. You can spend time with friends/family, do something special that you enjoy, or read a good book, for example.

Pick the actions above that work best for you. Active citizenship is a process that unfolds differently for everyone, and volunteering for an organization is just as valuable as running for office.

To request a PDF of this guide, email Erin McIlraith, Marketing & Events Coordinator, at emcilraith@wsu.edu.