IL News 007/2019

What can a student or student organization do to prove its nationhood spirit?

Such is the question from Petra Christian University student when discussing how student organization play a role in nation building, on March 8th, 2019 in a Campus Workshop. The workshop titled Nationhood and Patriotism invited Puansari Siregar from Leimena Institute as facilitator.

She started by asking the audience to observe Indonesia. Isn’t it true, as Soe Hok Gie said, that one can only love when one knows his object? Hence, she persuaded the audience to observe the history of Indonesia’s birth, dream, natural resource, culture and its challenges nowadays. She further reflected on the privilege as students and its aspirations could be. Based on this understanding, she then persuaded audience to observe what role can be done.

She split them into 3 level of activities, adapted from Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne’s What Kind of Citizen concept as a result of democracy education programs. First, the activity is personal where one is expected to be responsible by studying well, discipline, honest, etc. Second, the activity is participative where one joins transformative activity as change catalyst. Last, the activity is transformative where one is expected to make changes by solving the root cause.

We can see the quality difference in this concept from the following example. To overcome flood disaster, personal level activity will show its involvement through donation. Participative level activity will initiate or organize donation for flood’s victim. The transformative activity will question the root cause of the flood and then offer solution.

Back to the question at the beginning, these 3 activities are all good and necessary. However, in students’ context with their potentials, idealism, and intellectuals, we expect them not only playing personal role activity. They should observe the problems that happen in their surroundings, and implement their knowledge as solution for the problems.

The privilege as a student come with a duty to human kinds through strategic role, not just a routine or philanthropic, let alone personal kindness.

The spirit of nationhood and patriotism should evolve into transformative and reformed activities. Isn’t it along the line with the calling for Christians to be the light and salt?