During the anti-war '60s, schools like the University of California at Berkeley set the standard for campus activism. But as protests against the Vietnam War gave way to the no-nukes movement of the '70s and the anti-apartheid demonstrations of the '80s, campus activism diversified. Today, on the heels of the budget cutbacks of the Reagan-Bush era, students are showing a new spirit of activism and community service. To celebrate Mother Jones' 20th anniversary, our third annual list of the country's top activist campuses includes schools that have, for the past 20 years, pioneered social action and consistently generated students who remain committed to public affairs issues after graduation. Two dozen philanthropic and activist groups nominated schools; we tallied their votes and took it from there. The top 20, listed alphabetically: Brown University
, Providence, R.I. (7,500 students) Community service is a tradition at Brown, and the school encourages students to make careers of it. Since 1981, Brown has annually awarded $2,500 fellowships to freshmen and transfer students committed to social change.
University of California, Los Angeles (32,000) The Latino rights movement at UCLA dates back to the 1960's fights for civil rights. Students marched with Cesar Chavez and his United Farm Workers and demanded that administrators bring in ethnic studies and minority professors. Most recently, they've led the charge against the anti-immigrant and anti-affirmative action backlash sweeping California.
University of California, Santa Cruz (9,500) In 1974, students and professors founded the women's studies program, one of the nation's oldest. "It was so inspiring and empowering," says Tracye Lea Lawson, a '79 graduate who publishes a feminist newspaper in Santa Cruz. "We ran the program." Professors at UCSC taught rape prevention and women's self-defense long before the subjects were in vogue.
University of Colorado, Boulder (25,000) A longtime leader in the anti-nuke fight, it's also a pioneer in environmental activism, which includes an innovative campus recycling program. Started in 1976 by students who collected newspapers and cans, CU Recycling has grown into a student-administration partnership, diverting about 40 percent of the university's waste from landfills.
Columbia University, New York (20,200) As early as 1981, Columbia students were demanding that the university get its investments out of South Africa, then under apartheid rule. Their protests triggered the divestment movement at schools across America, climaxing in 1985 with dramatic sit-ins and strikes. Student pressure at schools around the country led to divestments of more than $4 billion.
Hendrix College, Conway, AK. (950) In 1986, Hendrix students spearheaded a movement to increase their school's purchase of food from local farmers. Thanks to their efforts, the school's supply of food from Arkansas farmers and manufacturers jumped from less than 10 percent to about 60 percent. Today, the Hendrix model has caught on at other colleges.