Vanessa Barrera is a student at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. She was recently awarded a scholarship from Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 104.

Student Perspective: The Importance of Unions in the 21st Century

Vanessa Barrera

There are plenty of Liberal Arts colleges known for their activism, but my school—Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN—is perhaps among the most visible. Most recently, “Mac” received national attention thanks to a sit-in organized by a student group committed to convincing the administration to cut their contract with Wells Fargo, a bank with a history of predatory loaning and responsible for most of the home foreclosures in the Twin Cities.

Amid the noise caused on campus by this cause and many like it, it’s sometimes easy to become desensitized, and to forget the gravity of the structural inequalities these movements strive to improve.