Students Against War less visible, but not less active

The University organization Students Against War has faded from the public eye in recent months, but it has not died off.

Despite a decrease in membership since the organization’s peak – which was just before the war in Iraq began – the student organization is still active at the University.

“We’re taking time to catch ourselves, to get ourselves organized in the core to make a better organization in the long run,” group member and University alumnus Nathan Mittelstaedt said.

Mittelstaedt has been involved in the organization since its inception, which was shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. He said it was created to combat what members saw as the imminent possibility of the United States going to war.

Since then, the group has given speeches, organized presentations and protested.

But after the war began in March, the organization scaled back its efforts. Mittelstaedt said people needed time to recuperate after creating and attending the large number of events.

However, he said the organization is not less active than it was before the war began.

“Less visible, maybe, because we’re not focused as much on throwing big events,” Mittelstaedt said.

He said the organization has changed its concentration.

“I think we need to recognize that at the University we have certain areas that we have more impact on,” Mittelstaedt said.

The group is considering organizing a trip to a School of the Americas demonstration and protesting war-related industries that recruit students at the University.

But the organization is still focused on Iraq.

“I don’t think you can ignore Iraq. It’s too big and important an issue to leave unmonitored,” Mittelstaedt said.

The group is organizing several future events. On Oct. 7, the organization will host a guest lecturer to speak about Colombia and U.S. military involvement there. On Oct. 13, the group will host three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly, the chief organizer of Voices in the Wilderness. Voices has been working against the economic sanctions on Iraq.

Mittelstaedt talked about other possible events as well.

“We’re starting to develop a couple of traditions. For a couple of years we’ve been having (an event called) ‘The War is for Fools,’ ” he said.

“On April 1, we get together and have fun, but in a political way. It’s a really good time.”

Samuel Stewart is a freelance writer. The freelance editor welcomes comments at [email protected]