The fall semester is here and the school is replenished with students, faculty and organizations willing to grab your attention. As many returning students are well aware of, there are also various organizations on campus asking about everything from God to the environment, and soliciting new members and donations.
Many organizations are seen on campus promoting their individual agendas. From the well known environmental group Green Peace, that calls the nearest student to them, asking if they want to save polar bears; to the increasingly present Christian group, “God our Mother”, that presents the idea that there is a mother God.
While many of these groups may have the intention to try and help others or the environment, some of their approaches or presentations may become a nuisance to many that encounter them.
Graphic design major Cody Pratt, has had mixed experiences with some of these groups, especially the religious ones. Pratt states that he has had great conversations with some of the religious groups, while with others he’s had to completely deny their request. One memorable experience Pratt had, was when he shared his beliefs to a religious group and they sat down to listen to him.
“There was this group that asked me about my personal beliefs and they took it into consideration. You can tell,” said Cody Pratt. They were sitting down listening to me and actually understanding what I was saying and in the same time respecting it.”
Not all encounters Pratt had with organizations were much of a bother to him. To him, it’s all about how these organizations presented themselves to him.
“It’s all in their approach. They all have the same message, all there to talk to you on the same thing, but depending if they have charisma or charm,” Pratt said. “It depends on their mind set. If it is more welcoming, I am more lenient to what they got to say.”
Though there have been many religious groups coming around the campus asking students about God, other organizations like Greenpeace, have been informing students about the issues in the environment and trying to persuade students to sign up for monthly donations. Greenpeace assures donations to the organization will help contribute to the ongoing fight over various environmental crises and make a difference in the world. However, psychology major Madeline Salguero, is quite skeptical towards some groups like these.
“I don’t trust groups like Greenpeace or Peta. I feel like they have some kind of hidden agenda. They’re just fronting that they have good intentions but in the end all they ask for is your money,” said Salguero “I usually try to avoid eye contact because that’s the best chance for them not to approach you.”
Salguero has her guard up against organizations asking for money and as for religious organizations, she will listen to what they have to say but has had personal issues with some groups based on their beliefs. Overall, Salguero feels it is best for groups to simply reach out to those they are closest to and not focus so much on strangers.
“I feel like the best way to spread your message is to talk to family or people you are close to,” she said. “Not everyone is gonna appreciate being approached while walking to class or studying for a final.”
With the last weeks for finals or even to the weeks near midterms, many students may enjoy taking some time to study out in the quad or simply relax under some shade in California’s dry seasons. Linguistic major Edward Martinez has been coming to PCC on and off for the last 5 years. He has had encounters with various groups speaking in the quad or holding up signs in front of students.
“A few years ago I had a class in the R building where a man was standing out in the quad and telling everyone how much of a sinner they are,” said Martinez. “I honestly don’t mind people expressing their freedom of speech but it got pretty annoying when we were able to hear him inside the class.”
When it comes to an experience like this, it may make it more difficult to cope with others expressing their freedom of speech.
“I’m fine with people saying what they feel, but don’t blame another race or group of people for something. Trying to call someone out for being a sinner is what I wouldn’t appreciate as well as any hate towards others,” said Edward Martinez.
A majority of the time, Martinez doesn’t get bothered by many of these organizations. He actually accepted an offer once to sit at a table and join a group for some prayers.
Since Pasadena City College is a state school, the school is open to the public. This allows anyone to enter the school and express their freedom of speech as they like. Of course there is limits to how much expression someone can make and that is if it interferes with students academic work. Alex Boekelheide works with the communication and public relations department of PCC and states that any of these organizations have every right to be here speaking to the the students.
“The college is public land. We are open to any group walking on campus and we cannot regulate on that. We do got to keep a safe and learning environment so we do draw lines on certain disruptions,” Boekelheide said.
It seems like to some students at PCC, being approached by organizations is never a desire to the college experience, yet some of the students don’t actually mind being questioned or informed about certain topics. With freedom of speech, PCC will welcome different groups or organizations to speak to students on the school’s campus.