Those involved in founding the marxist/radical/critical criminology of the late 1960s and early 1970s, were also often members of groups that engaged in various acts of protest designed to stimulate social change. These criminologists spent much of their time being activists. Their activism was shared with and by the college students they taught, and they spent at least part of their time engaged in activities that brought their social change theories to life.
Today, college students are not very active politically, and are very unlikely to be engaged in acts of resistance. In order to stimulate activism, I often design my courses to include an option to engage in a community activist project in lieu of a term paper. The assignments vary depending on the course. In environmental law and crime, the students are encouraged to map out hazardous waste sites and dangers within a local, economically deprived community, and set up a meeting to share that information with community members. Students have also become involved in the community by attending City Council meetings and becoming members of committees on community problems related to crime, justice or the environment. Students in one of my graduate classes, for example, became experts on water distribution rules and rights, and helped guide decisions made by Hillsborough County about expanded water rights requested filed by water bottling companies that sought to increase the amount of water they were allowed to bottle. The student committee, using information it gathered on the past behavior of the companies who had applied for expanded water rights in other communities, helped conviced the Hillsborough County executives not to expand water pumping rights. To spread the idea of activism, I have also served as the student advisor to a group that protested animal experimentation on campus.